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Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
For some vacationers, planning a trip involves making reservations and packing up the car and kids or grandkids then heading out on the road. A traveler with a disability needs to know more about an actual destination and accommodations before starting their trip. Though many destinations indicate that they are “accessible,” it may not mean that they are “functional,” which is what Ron and Kay Wilmers of Michigan discovered over thirty-plus years of traveling to national parks and surrounding areas. Ron, who is in a wheelchair, and his wife Kay, a Registered Nurse, would like to provide travel information for people with accessibility needs and increase tourism in national parks for this segment of travelers. As part of their strategy, they have created a website called “The Disabled Traveler’s Companion.” The website can be accessed through Rocky Mountain National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm.
What makes this website unique are the site-specific photographs and information they have provided. The website shows what accessible features currently exist at Rocky Mountain National Park. The website highlights the beautiful accessible trails, the parking areas and the accessible campsites in the park. Removing “the unknown” with accessible information allows the traveler to decide whether or not a location works for them, prior to traveling. The Wilmers have worked with three other national parks so far including Glacier National Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Rocky Mountain National Park hopes that the Disabled Traveler’s Companion website will be an excellent source of information between the national park and individuals with a disability.