July 14, 2024 Donate

Chelsea, Dexter, Saline, Washtenaw County

Huron-Clinton Metroparks Continues Work on Accessibility Through Improvements and Programs

Community News 

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks is committed to removing barriers, creating access, improving access, and increasing recreation opportunities for all. This summer the Metroparks are hosting adaptive recreation programs and working on updates to their ADA Transition Plan as they work to continue to work to have a barrier-free Metroparks system. 

The Adaptive Recreation program series aims to make outdoor recreation accessible and enjoyable for people of all abilities. The series will feature a variety of inclusive activities, ensuring that everyone can connect with nature and participate in recreational programs. This series of programs provides accessible options for individuals with physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities. 

MiAble is the presenting sponsor for the Adaptive Recreation programs. MiABLE is a savings program that helps people with disabilities save without the risk of losing government benefits. 

The Metroparks collaborated with local disability advocacy groups and experts to develop the Adaptive Recreation Series, ensuring that each activity is thoughtfully designed and implemented. Additionally, the series will feature staff and volunteers who are trained to provide support and assistance to participants, ensuring a welcoming, accommodating, and inclusive experience for all.   

“The partnership between Disability Network Eastern Michigan and the Metroparks is built on our shared belief in inclusivity. Together, we work to ensure everyone, no matter their abilities, can enjoy and connect with nature and recreation. This partnership has enhanced the lives of people with disabilities in Macomb County,” says Carrie Gerdeman, Recreation & Health Services Director for the Disability Network of Eastern Michigan.    

The learn more about the Adaptive Recreation program visit, https://www.metroparks.com/adaptive-recreation/. Participants are encouraged to register in advance as space is limited. 

Additional work this summer is updating the Metroparks ADA Transition Plan. This plan provides a framework for the Metroparks to meet or exceed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements when creating new or improving current spaces and amenities and it is intended to guide the Metroparks efforts in providing inclusivity for all visitors. 

Over the past few years many accessibility improvements have been made, including parking lots, walkways, door openings and knobs, restrooms, portable restrooms, picnic facilities, tables, adding accessible recreation equipment, and much more. Projects have included resurfaced sections of hike-bike trails, a mountain bike trail built for handcycles at Stony Creek, and picnic shelters now include accessible tables and grills as well as a fixed table layout that ensures proper table spacing for wheelchairs and others to navigate throughout the space. Accessible playgrounds are now at Maple Beach in Kensington Metropark, Woods Creek at Lower Huron, Lake St. Clair Metropark, and very soon at Indian Springs Metropark. 

Grant funding has allowed the Metroparks to make additions to accessible water recreation. An accessible fishing pier and accessible canoe/kayak launch at Lake St. Clair Metropark, an accessible floating canoe/kayak launch at Kensington Metropark, a canoe/kayak launch with a moveable transfer station at Rapids View in Hudson Mills Metropark, and two more accessible canoe/kayak launch improvements coming soon to Dexter-Huron and Delhi Metroparks. Each of these projects encompasses much more including accessible parking, walkways, restrooms, signage, and picnic tables. 

The public can provide feedback on the accessibility of each of the Metroparks through an online survey that will feed into the updates to the ADA Transition Plan. They are looking to learn what accessible features are most important to you. You can explore the surveys at https://www.metroparks.com/planning-and-development/#FEEDBACK.