(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — After adding more accessibility options for people who wanted to experience El Paso County parks and open spaces, the El Paso County Nature Centers are looking to expand their accessibility program for the 2023 season.

In 2022, El Paso County purchased two Terrain Hoppers for each of the county nature centers in cooperation with The Independence Center. El Paso County said Terrain Hoppers are off-road mobility vehicles that allow more people to access nature in ways previously inaccessible to them.

  • A rider in a Terrain Hopper navigates a hiking trail
  • A guest in a terrain hopper looks away from the camera, a plate that reads Hopper 1 can be seen on the back of the vehicle
  • A pair of hikers moves away from the camera with one of the hikers in a Terrain Hopper vehicle
  • A couple poses with a green terrain hopper on a hiking trail
  • A woman with her family as they pose around a Terrain Hopper vehicle

El Paso County started the Trailability Program, along with planning trail routes, and training volunteers and staff to accompany participants. The program was run at each Nature Center two days per week both morning and afternoon. According to El Paso County, in the inaugural season, from July 26 to Oct. 31, 2022, 28 people participated in three-hour hikes.

El Paso County is planning to sustain and improve the Trailability Program in several ways. It is planning to extend the season to begin on May 1 and end on Oct. 31, to accommodate more guests.

Trail extensions and modifications will give visitors added experiences in nature, along with written trail guides to help participants and companions learn about the flora and fauna at each park, said El Paso County.

Registration for the Trailability Program begins on April 1 and reservations can be made on El Paso County’s website. Times are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on varying days.