Enhancing Accessibility in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Adaptive Programs Offer Inclusive Outdoor Adventures
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is taking significant steps towards enhancing accessibility and making public lands more inclusive for visitors of all abilities. In partnership with Knox County, Catalyst Sports, and Friends of the Smokies, the park is offering three adaptive programs this summer. These programs utilize off-road wheelchairs and adaptive mountain bikes, enabling individuals with physical disabilities to explore and enjoy the park's natural beauty.
Designed for Visitors of All Abilities
Designed for visitors of all abilities and their families, these programs provide an opportunity to learn about the rich natural and cultural history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The upcoming events include:
- Saturday, July 22nd, 2023 (HIKE) — Deep Creek Trail
- Sunday, August 27, 2023 (BIKE) — Forge Creek Rd-Cades Cove
- Saturday, September 9, 2023 (HIKE) — Little River Trail
Register in Advance
In order to take part in these programs, enrollment is necessary. You can register and learn more by visiting Catalyst Sports, a non-profit organization that offers outdoor adventures specifically for individuals with physical disabilities. You are also welcome to bring your own adaptive equipment.
Volunteers are Needed
The success of adaptive programs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park depends on the support of volunteers. Two volunteers are needed to assist with each piece of adaptive equipment, so your contribution can make a significant impact. If you're interested in helping out, you can join the Park staff for the Accessibility and Adaptive Equipment Training. This training is essential before you can assist with the programs in the park. To register as a volunteer, please contact Katherine Corrigan at email@example.com. It's important to note that volunteer positions require moderate to high fitness levels.
Thanks to a generous grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and major funding support from Toyota Motor North America, inclusive outdoor experiences are made possible in the park through these adaptive programs. They are working together to ensure that everyone can enjoy the wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.