Oregon State Parks Seek to Improve Access


10678499_10204717928898825_8786844006418640572_nIn an effort to make Oregon state parks more accessible, the Oregon State Parks Foundation (OSPF) recently invited 10 people with a spinal cord injry on a camping trip. But it wasn’t your ordinary camping trip — it was more of a research project. The goal was to identify the barriers that people with disabilities face in the state parks, and to ultimately remove those barriers.

What a great idea!

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Accessible Camping at South Lake Tahoe


Zephyr Cove Campground

Although accessible campgrounds come in all shapes and sizes, Zephyr Cove Campground goes one step further as far as access is concerned.

Sure they have an accessible office where you can pick out one of seven accessible RV spaces, but they go well beyond that. Not only are the accessible spaces flat, but they also have easy access to the utility hook-ups. And even better, they have easy-to-use accessible water connections.

Standard water outlets are difficult to operate

Accessible water faucets feature easy-to-use levers

On standard water connections you have to grip and pull hard in order to get the water to flow, but that’s not the case with accessible water connections. They have levers which require a minimum of pressure to operate. And that’s such a relief to anybody who has a hard time gripping things; in fact folks with arthritis will really appreciate this accessible feature.

There are also accessible shower rooms in the campground, which have roll-in showers with fold-down shower benches, hand-held showerheads, toilet and shower grab bars and roll-under sinks. And these family style shower and toilet rooms are huge. Even the largest wheelchair or scooter can easily navigate around in them.

If you’d like to pitch a tent instead, site 9 in the drive-in campground features a level pad and is close to the accessible water faucet and the accessible shower room. Sites 8 and 10 are also relatively flat and will work for many people.

Unfortunately none of the sites and the walk-in campground are technically accessible, as they are located up a hill with a steady rise. That said, they will transport folks who can’t manage the grade up to their campsites in golf carts. So although they aren’t the best choice for wheelchair-users, they may work for some slow walkers.

Best of all, the campground is located right across the street from the Zephyr Cove marina, where the MS Dixie II is docked. This paddlewheel boat features level access and offers a variety of cruises around the lake. And if you’d like to give the cook the night off, the campground is also just across the street from the Zephyr Cove Restaurant, which serves up a wide variety of family favorites all day long. They are especially known for their ample breakfasts, but even folks watching the calories will find something to suit them on the menu.

So next time you want to do a little camping — either in your rig or in a tent — check out this very accessible option in South Lake Tahoe.



Exploring Lake Michigan


Our accessible cabin at Point Beach National Forest, on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Since Cherrie like the Colorado yurts so much, we decided to spend some time in a rustic cabin on Lake Michigan. Technically these two cabins at Point Beach State Forest are group cabins, but hey, three is a group, right? The price was right – a very reasonable $60 – so we decided to go for it. And we weren’t disappointed with the accessibility either. The Wisconsin DNR did a great job. Continue reading


2011 Portland Music Fest Features Upgraded Access


Before yesterday I had never heard of the Pickathon. But then again I don’t live in Portland, Oregon. This 3-day Indie Roots music festival came to my attention when a festival-goer wrote to tell me — are you sitting down folks — about the access upgrades for the 2011 event. So of course, I had to learn more. Continue reading