Accessible recreation isn’t just for adults. There is a variety of options in the Adirondacks for children and young people as well.
Nichole Evans, a Saratoga County resident whose family has a camp in Lake Luzerne, describes her son, Shamus, as a “thrill-seeker” who loves roller coasters and going as fast as possible.
Shamus, now a teenager, was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Two years ago, the family invested in a trackchair—a heavy-duty device that uses tank-like tracks instead of wheels, which gives Shamus more mobility outdoors. Still, Evans said she uses Google maps to try to check out trails to make sure they’re wide enough and flat enough for the family to handle together.
She said the family has spent a lot of time on the trails at YMCA Camp Chingachgook on Lake George, and Shamus has sailed through the Y-Knot program at Chingachgook. He has also attended the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne and skied in an adaptive program at Gore Mountain.
Adaptive sailing in action
See a gallery of images from a recent adaptive sailing session. Photos by Mike Lynch
When Shamus was younger, Evans said they could just pick him up and carry him as needed, or tilt his manual wheelchair back to maneuver him down stairs. As he’s gotten bigger, and his chair heavier, getting over obstacles has become more challenging.
“I feel like there’s probably plenty of trails that could be made accessible pretty easily if they just put some fill in some areas or dug up some of the bigger rocks,” Evans said.
But she acknowledged it’s a balance between making trails accessible and maintaining the wilderness.
“Ideally, for anyone in a power chair, there would be paved paths,” she said. “But that’s not nature anymore.”