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Staunton State Park's track-chair program making outdoors more accessible for all

Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 15:27:43-04

STAUNTON STATE PARK, Colo. — Enjoying the outdoors is why many people come to Colorado — whether it be to live or for vacation. But getting outdoors in the first place can be tough some because of their age or disabilities, which is why Staunton State Park in Conifer has a program that changes all that, and it's becoming quite the draw.

The park's track-chair program allows people like 18-year-old Hank Poore to do their own type of hiking.

“This is awesome. Nowhere else would he have this opportunity,” said Hank's mom, Kathy Poore.

Hank and his family came all the way from Alabama to enjoy Colorado, and having the chance to taking him hiking was a special part of the trip.

“Hank has cerebral palsy, had it since birth. He uses a power chair at home,” Kathy said.

Which made his driving ability on the trail of little surprise to his mom.

“He’s loving it though,” she said

The track-chair program is becoming one of the more popular things to do at Staunton.

“Super busy. Reservations all the way out. First month, they fill up for the whole summer. People are absolutely loving it,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Annie Thran.

The park has three chairs and just raised enough to buy a fourth in order to provide more families, like the Poores, special opportunities in the wilderness.

“One thing as a family we did before Hank was born with our kids was hike. And ever since Hank got too big to carry, we’ve never been able to hike. That makes it extra meaningful. That ability to get outdoors,” Moore said.

More than 50 volunteers help take people out for rides. They are on pace to do more than 200 in 2019.