During this year of social distancing many of us have taken to the trails and parks around the Hudson Valley. We are fortunate that we live in such a beautiful area with so much nature available for us to enjoy year round. That being said I want you to take a moment and think about something the next time your go on an outdoor adventure with a group of friends. Think about what if one of you had a disability? Could you still go out to your favorite spot and enjoy the trek.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) wants you to know that people with disabilities can enjoy the same recreation areas as non-disabled people enjoy. This past week many people celebrated the International Day of persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is set aside to bring awareness to the need to include persons with disabilities in all kinds of activities including hiking trails and NYS DEC recreation sites..

In recognition of this day the NYS DEC put up a Facebook post which contained a link to help everyone see that they are committed to making sure more areas are assessable for people with disabilities. They want to encourage more families with strollers and person with mobility issues to enjoy their sites. They are encouraging people with motility issues to contact them for more information about enjoying state lands. I think it is great that the NYS DEC is opening more and more areas for people who have disabilities to be able to enjoy the outdoor. Sometimes it is as simple as changing stairs into a ramp.

Growing I was fortunate enough to have friends who required alternative access due to mobility issues. I learned early on that not be able to do what other could do you sometimes got left behind. That was never an option with my group of friends. We always figured it out. It is nice to see that there is a greater awareness these days and that more is being done to create more accessible spaces.

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