November 27th, 2019

Our national parks are beautiful and teeming with native flora and fauna and what lots of people don’t know is that they are accessible to those with disabilities.

The Department of Environment and Water (DEW) have been working towards inclusion and accessibility throughout their organisation.

International Day of People with Disability is on Tuesday, December 3 and to highlight South Australia’s national parks to people with disabilities Senior Project Officer at DEW Yvie Eglinton developed a ‘Wheely Good Bushwalk’.

Yvie herself has a disability after a cycling accident left her paralyzed from the chest down.

She said that she had noticed a similar event interstate and thought it would be great to host a bushwalk for people with disabilities at Belair, and it expanded from there.

The walks are guided by rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and will be held at Belair, Para Wirra and Onkaparinga national parks.

Yvie said it is a great way to get those who have a disability into the national parks.

“We hope they get the health and wellbeing benefits going outside into nature,” she said.

“But it is also an opportunity to show people with a disability that parks can be accessible.

“We don’t have many people with disabilities attending our park of the month events so these will provide an opportunity for people of all abilities to have the same experience as others.”

On the walks rangers will pass on their knowledge of the park to give people a greater understanding of the work rangers do.

Senior Ranger Sean Benz said it’s all about helping people and helping them connect with nature.

“We’ve worked really hard to make more information about the parks available to the community,” he said.

Sean has organised a few events for International Day of People with Disabilities in the past but this will be the first one with guided walks.

They will also be a bus tour and a tour of government house at Belair national park.

The Natural Resource Management Board (NRM) is hosting an outdoor classroom for the day with the Grove Education Centre.

The education centre is a school for kids with special needs and Yvie said that this experience will be very beneficial for the kids.

“They’ll be having a sensory walk with things that they can see, feel and smell.

People of all abilities are welcome to come and to take part in these special guided walks and for more information visit http://www.parks.sa.gov.au/get-inspired/international-day-of-people-with-disability to register and provide personal details so that arrangements can be made if need. be.

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