Lorin enjoying the trail © Courtesy of Westchester Parks Foundation
Westchester County, located less than 40 miles from New York City, is home to more than 50 parks spread over 18,000 acres. These parks offer a range of outdoor experiences, including hiking trails that are free for the county’s nearly one million residents to enjoy. However, for individuals living with paralysis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities, the opportunity to experience these trails has been non-existent—until now.
Westchester Parks Foundation (WPF) is proud to launch Trails Without Limits, the first adaptive trail program in Westchester County. The program will allow individuals with disabilities to enjoy the county’s trails through the use of specially designed All-Terrain Trackchairs that can navigate dirt trails, mud, sand, and grass.
“The health-related benefits of spending time outdoors make a huge impact on your mental and physical state,” stated Seth Mandelbaum, Chairperson of WPF.
“For individuals living with paralysis, the range of immersive outdoor experiences are too often curtailed to the point of being non-existent, regardless of their desire or determination. WPF is trying to change that by making Westchester County Parks accessible to all.”
Erin Cordiner, Director of Philanthropy & Community Engagement at WPF, added that the program will mean so much to individuals living with disabilities and will stretch even further to benefit family members and caregivers. “For some, it may be the first hike they’ve ever had the chance to be included in. For others, it may be the first time immersed in trails since their diagnosis. But everyone deserves to experience the benefits of nature and enjoy the beauty our park system offers. We’re here to ensure that happens today and continues for generations to come.”
Lu, a veteran, echoed Cordiner’s statement by adding that the program will make it possible for veterans to be active with their families again, especially their young grandchildren. “It will help our veterans get back to the quiet and nature…[while] interacting with friends and family,” he said.
The Trails Without Limits program was kickstarted by WPF’s #GivingTuesday campaign last fall. The foundation was also awarded a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grant, which made it possible to purchase two trail-capable All-Terrain Trackchairs. However, to expand the reach of this future-thinking program, more funds are needed to support staff, trainings, and annual supplies. A community-minded venture requires community support—outdoor enthusiasts and park lovers like you are playing a key role in making parks accessible!
Trails Without Limits is an important step towards ensuring that every person who lives in Westchester County has the ability to enjoy the county’s parks and trails, regardless of their abilities. With this program, Westchester Parks Foundation is taking a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all.
About Westchester Parks Foundation
Westchester Parks Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, philanthropic organization that provides private support to preserve the county’s park system and improve the quality of life in communities. The foundation’s mission is to engage the public to advocate for and invest in the preservation, conservation, use, and enjoyment of the parks, trails, and open spaces within the Westchester County Parks system.
Visit TheWPF.org to learn more and get involved.
Westchester Parks Foundation engages the public to advocate for and invest in the preservation, conservation, use, and enjoyment of the 18,000 acres of parks, trails, and open spaces within the Westchester County Parks system.