16 informonline.org.au Feature ‘I'd say to not have any fear and to give it a go even though you might have reservations’ Below: Thanks to the advocacy of David Stratton, there are now TrailRiders across the the country. Today, Shauna says the TrailRiders are in ‘pretty much constant use’ with a steady and upward trajectory of usage. ‘We have them down on the Mornington Peninsula and in the Grampians and up in the Dandenongs. We have one in Listerfield Park, which is a metropolitan park out in southeast Melbourne. We have one down at Wilson's Prom. So, they are in positions that are in fantastic either locally accessible parks or national or state parks that are actually well used,’ Shauna said. ‘And what we also try to make sure of is that there are other amenities which are going to support the visit so that [includes] disability access toilets, car parking, some of those sorts of things that actually just help the individual and their carer and their families to actually get to the site where they can actually use it.’ In addition to providing the TrailRiders free of charge, Parks Victoria also provide volunteers who are trained to operate the TrailRider. The ‘sherpas’ as they are affectionately known, can assist in manoeuvring the TrailRider throughout the park. The TrailRider is just one way that Parks Victoria is working to make their parks more accessible. From social scripts for people with sensory disabilities to inclusive playscapes and accessible boat ramps and canoe launchers, accessibility and universal design is something that is a ‘driving mantra’ for the organisation, Shauna said. ‘I would absolutely encourage everyone to give [the TrailRider] a go. And bring friends or family with them so that everybody can join in because it's going to broaden their horizons, going to take them further than just an afternoon at a picnic table in a park. It's going to get them out in nature, on the trails, like everybody else,’ Shauna said. It is sentiment echoed by Anthony, who encourages people to ‘give it a go’. ‘I'd say to not have any fear and to give it a go even though you might have reservations,’ he said. ‘Just to give it a go and [don’t] be put off by a new experience. If you don’t try it, you'll never know what places it could take you and how it will feel.’
Feature informonline.org.au 17 Where you can find TrailRiders ACT Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Canberra E: email@example.com New South Wales Kamay Botany Bay National Park Dorrigo National Park Kosciuszko National Park E: firstname.lastname@example.org. gov.au Victoria Buchan Caves Reserve P: (03) 8627 4700 Grampians National Park P: (03) 8427 2058 Dandenong Ranges National Park P: (03) 9755 2888 Wilsons Promontory National Park P: (03) 8427 2122 Colac Otway Shire (Manual TrailRider) E: email@example.com Hepburn Shire (Manual TrailRider) E: firstname.lastname@example.org Loddon Shire (Motorised TrailRider) E: email@example.com. gov.au Moorabool Shire (Manual TrailRider) E: firstname.lastname@example.org Mt Beauty Visitor Information Centre (Manual TrailRider) P: 1800 111 885 Surf Coast Shire (Manual TrailRider) E: email@example.com Warburton Visitor Information Centre (Motorised TrailRider) E: firstname.lastname@example.org Tasmania Cradle Mountain Park E: email@example.com From little things big things grow When a skiing accident left Canadian teenager Sam Sullivan a quadriplegic in 1979, he was determined to continue the active life he’d always led. Despite playing wheelchair basketball and rugby, Sam really missed getting out in nature and feeling the ‘sun on his face and the wind in his hair’. Knowing he couldn’t be the only person with a disability feeling like this, he founded the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) in 1988. The society’s mission was to facilitate access to the parks and trails in the Vancouver area. But Sam wanted to do more than that. In the early years of the society, he worked on the idea of a battery-powered cart that could get him out on the trails, but the design was riddled with problems. It wasn’t until the mid-90s when Sam caught up with Paul Cermak, a retired engineer who had helped Sam previously with some home modifications that the idea really took off. Over coffee, the pair devised the idea for a ‘one-wheeled access device’. The first plans for what would become the TrailRider were drawn on the back of a napkin. By 1995, BCMOS had begun building TrailRiders. From an idea, to a sketch on a napkin, to Paul Cermak’s garage, to Everest Base Camp: the Trail Rider has come a long way. Some twenty years after the initial idea, Trail Riders can be found in parks around the world and at places as majestic and previously inaccessible as Mt Kilimanjaro, the floor of the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu.