Bismarck, ND – The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD) recently acquired new equipment to bring greater accessibility and inclusivity for visitors of all abilities.
In recognition of International Color Blindness Awareness Month, NDPRD is excited to announce it is the first park system in the nation to make all state parks color-blind accessible.
Color blind visitors at each state park can experience the world of color through special glasses. Each state park will receive an EnChroma glasses kit to be available for visitor use by Sept. 30, and Lewis and Clark State Park will additionally receive two SeeCoast viewfinders for installation within the park by the summer of 2024.
The glasses and viewfinders will enable those with color blindness to experience the colorful beauty of nature more fully at North Dakota state parks. Globally, one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) are color blind. While people with normal color vision see more than one million hues and colors, people with color blindness see only an estimated 2% to 10% of them. As a result, their world view is less vibrant, with some colors appearing muddled or indistinguishable. The glasses and viewfinders are manufactured in a way to stimulate the brain’s color processing center and enhance color vision. In addition, several color-blind individuals will be selected to receive their own pair of EnChroma glasses and see color for the first time. Dates and times for those color reveal events will be announced soon.
Additionally, Lake Metigoshe State Park was selected as one of 18 nation-wide recipients by Ford’s Bronco Wild Foundation partnership with Action Trackchair to receive an Action Axis Trackchair. This chair ensures individuals with mobility impairments can enjoy the park’s natural beauty, recreational activities and facilities.
With the park’s uneven terrain and hiking trails, Lake Metigoshe State Park’s paths can be challenging to navigate in traditional wheelchairs, so the trackchair’s offroad capabilities allows these individuals to explore the park with greater ease and comfort. The free-to-use trackchairs are similar to traditional wheelchairs but include all-terrain wheels, electrical operation, and a tilt mechanism for climbing and descending hills. While trackchairs can’t go over a boulder or a large log, they are built to tackle rugged terrain.
Lake Sakakawea State Park also has a trackchair for visitor use which was acquired in 2021. Users can contact either park for availability of the chairs.
Adaptive kayak/canoe launches
Many of our state parks are equipped with adaptive kayak and canoe launches as well, which provide a safe and accessible way for all visitors to easily enter and exit small watercraft.
The mission of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is to enrich generations through experiences that connect people and places.
“All visitors, including those with mobility impairments, can better participate in recreational activities and create lasting memories within our state parks,” said NDPRD Director Cody Schulz. “We’re excited about these new opportunities and partnerships to connect more people to our parks.”