PINE, Colo.– Staunton State Park and the Friends of Staunton State Park are celebrating the 1,000th track chair trip on Saturday, Sept. 4.
The track chair program, launched in 2017, offers disabled individuals the opportunity to hike. Four motorized wheelchairs allow any individual of any age, disability and style the chance to fish at two ponds, go hiking and enjoy the state park.
Natalie Bostow, track chair program manager since 2018, said, “As we hit 1,000 trips I think about every individual that’s been impacted by our program,” Bostow said. “The fathers who’ve gotten to hike with their daughters for the first time. The families that got to enjoy one last adventure with their grandparents…“I think of all the happy tears that have been shed by individuals who for the first time in years, are able to enjoy the Colorado outdoors. This program is more impactful than I think any of us could have imagined.”
In January 2021, Staunton donated a track chair to Barr Lake State Park who then purchased another track chair in June of 2021. So far, both chairs have totaled over 52 miles.
Volunteer Ted Hammon initiated the idea in 2016 after bringing his neighbor Mark Madsen in a track chair borrowed from Craig Hospital in 2014.
“Believe me, we had many adventures with that first loaner track chair figuring out what it could and could not do in Staunton,” Hammon said. “Mark liked to say, ‘I am a highly functioning quadriplegic, focusing on what I can do, not what I cannot do.’ Sadly we lost Mark to a sudden illness in 2015, but I know my buddy Mark is looking down with a giant smile on his face as every track chair hiker takes off on the trail.”
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife is looking to expand the program into its other parks.
Zach Taylor, Staunton State Park manager, said, “We look forward to many more trips and hope that this experience can bring joy to many more families and friends. We even have plans to add a fifth track chair to our inventory.”
To learn more about Staunton’s track chair program, click here.
To make a reservation on a chair in Barr Lake, click here.