Sunday, July 23, 2017

A blast from the past

This was my post five years ago and so much has changed (including the Lysterfield TrailRider moving to Yarra Ranges Of course you can pick it up there and take it to Lysterfield)

This is what was said in September 2012

Lysterfield Park in Melbourne saw the official launch of another Parks Victoria Trail Rider and the Wild Places DVD.

Brad Battin and John Kenwright
show off the chair
The event was opened by Brad Battin, State member for Gembrook.

The chair is available from the TrailMix cafe at the park.



Several exciting ideas came to the fore:

  • A volunteer sherpa program of some kind was discussed. A way that riders who did not have the right kind of family or friends could still go out there
  • The Oxfam walk - in a TrailRider in 2013. Brad even offered to push!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Finally!

Regular readers of this blog will have heard one name over and over again - John Kenwright the Parks Victoria Community Inclusion Coordinator. More than anyone (apart from Ros and me launching the ship) he has kept the TrailRider ship afloat and surging onwards. Just put his name in the Search This Blog box on the right (on a computer) and see how many hits you get.

As I'm at pains to point out, in most of the TrailRider speeches I've given, he does this on one of the five days in his working week. The other four he is doing something else as amazing for the disabled.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that he is one of six finalists in the Emerging Leader category of the 2017 Victorian Disability Awards

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Rumour Mill

A specially thrilled BJ
Click pic to visit Disability Foundation website
My first ever TrailRider email was from Stephen Hunter at the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation and the other day I received another from him.

This what he said:

I am reaching out to determine whether is any truth to the rumour someone in Australia is building or seriously considering building a TrailRider like device

Does anyone know something that I don't?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

In The Flinders - the first privately run TrailRider

Who, I wonder, is hiding?
Click pic to visit website
A few posts ago I spoke of Quinten van der Werf who, with others, runs a series of eco-resorts that give people access to the Flinders Ranges, a beautiful area to the north of South Australia.You need not feel bad - it was buried at the foot of a multi-subject post (Note to self: Don't mix subjects in the same message)

The reason this is so significant in Australian TrailRider history is that, up to this one, all the TrailRiders have been publicly funded by local councils or parks organisations. Perhaps a threshold has been crossed.

In the words of the Port Pirire Recorder - well read on:

"People with disabilities will now be able to visit the Flinders Rangers in an all-terrain wheelchair, thanks to a grant announced by Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock.

Mr Brock, who is Regional Development Minister, revealed the winners of the ‘Fund My Idea’ grant.

The nominees were published to the YourSAy website. Over a three-week period the public voted for how they felt the money should be spent. Alan Clarke, of Bangor, and Quinten van der Werf, of Wirrabara, are managing partners of ‘In the Flinders’ and were awarded $13,950 for their Trails for Everyone initiative. 

The money was granted to their program for the purchase of an all-terrain wheelchair that will allow people with disabilities to explore previously inaccessible trails.

The two say they have “always had a passion for the outdoors” and began ‘In the Flinders’ to provide an authentic Southern Flinders Ranges experience to the world by offering unique and memorable nature-based adventures

They said that the southern Flinders Ranges were the best place to introduce the wheelchair because they are more easily accessible from towns and roads than other iconic hiking trails. 

Both feel that the ranges are a relaxing environment that provides non-daunting experiences of serenity and solitude.

The single-wheeled, off-road wheel chair known as the Trail Rider will be used at Mount Remarkable, Wirrabara and on the Heysen Trail, a 1200km path from Cape Jervis to Parachutist Gorge.

It is equipped with brake assist and an electric motor that will maximize their ability to freely offer it on tours of Mount Remarkable National Park and surrounding trails of the iconic southern Flinders Ranges.

By introducing the Trail Rider Trails for Everyone aims to promote the inclusivity of people with disabilities and their families.

The funding has also gone towards training people to assist with wheeling, an exercise that both Mr Clarke and Mr van der Werf will personally undertake. 

The training of staff and the Trail Rider itself ensures that when people with disabilities and their families plan vacations in the Flinders Ranges, they won't miss out the experiences that only ever been accessible to able-bodied people.

The Trail Rider will also be used to assist senior citizens.

Wilma Cillie, nursing unit manager at Booleroo Centre District Hospital, has experience in caring for people who suffer from dementia and have suffered strokes. 

She believes that because they are mostly outdoor people and farmers, it will “be great to get them out and about on a track and allow them to feel and see what they used to”. 

She is a strong advocate of the Trails for Everyone program and says that they will use the service at the hospital.

Regarding their motivation for creating this program, Mr van der Werf said: “We hope to ensure that people with disabilities will be able to experience the outdoor scenic wonders of South Australia that many of us take for granted. 

Mr Clarke added: “We tried to put ourselves in their shoes and thought about how we would feel if we were prevented from exploring the outdoors that we love because of a disability.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guest Post from Matt Jackson - CEO Parks Victoria

Following on from the previous Jackson's guest post here is Matt Jackson.Over to you Matt...


"To me, a key part of Healthy Parks Healthy People is making sure that everyone can connect with and enjoy nature to get the health benefits that come from that.

I can only imagine the joy that David Stratton and others of limited mobility experience when the natural world is opened up to them through the TrailRider and they can see places they previously couldn’t get to. It’s a wonderful thing indeed and I’m really proud to be part of an organisation that has worked consistently over many years to see TrailRiders become available in more and more places.

At Parks Victoria, important work is being done to build the knowledge of the health benefits of parks. Our parks currently play a critical role in promoting healthy lifestyles. Our data shows Victoria’s parks attract more than 50 million visits each year, and there are more than 45 million visits to our piers and jetties for fishing, boating and relaxation.

We think the benefits of parks and nature for our health and wellbeing have been greatly under-recognised and undervalued. There are many opportunities to utilise the power of nature for public health. We believe being active in nature can be a highly cost effective contributor in helping to tackle many of our growing public health issues such as obesity, depression and anxiety, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

Parks Victoria is increasingly working with many providers from the public health sector by connecting (or reconnecting) people with nature.  In turn more people become advocates for conserving our precious biodiversity and greenspace.

We have some great partnerships in place –  with researchers to review and build the evidence and fill knowledge gaps. We’re also working with our partners in other government departments to ensure that nature-based health and active living programs in parks are included in key government plans. We’re developing many different partnerships with the community and disability sectors for groups such as at risk teens, children, seniors and new migrants, and working with Traditional Owners to further enable cultural and spiritual connection and reconnection for health and wellbeing.

There are so many opportunities to utilise the power of nature for the health of the community. And this is being recognised more and more widely. It was great to see the link between a healthy environment and community health and wellbeing was formally recently recognised by the Victorian Government through a Memorandum on Health and Nature, jointly signed by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Energy, Environment and climate change.


David and Ros have provided a great role model for others with good ideas, passion and commitment to work with us and make great things happen. That openness and commitment to partnerships is a key aspect of our Healthy Parks Healthy People approach.

I encourage and welcome others to follow their example.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fund My Idea in the Flinders Ranges

Click pic to see what it's all about
Quinten van der Werf's idea is to make the beauties of the Flinders Ranges, in South Australia, available to everyone

The South Australian government lets the people (trolls and robots excepted!) assess the relevance of these ideas through the YourSAy website (clever name!) and if I could assemble a robot to shout about this one I would.

Read what Quentin is suggesting or tweet about @intheflinders - yes, I'm getting with the plot!

Friday, May 12, 2017

A perfect circle!

The first two of the many subsequent faces that launched the
20 Australian TrailRiders
On 28th August 2009 Donna Morgan went out and spent $10 - and took me, against my better judgement, out on my first-ever TrailRider ride. Along with inaugural sherpas Ros (wife), Jeanne (neighbour), Sam (son), Geordie (neighbour's son), Rachel (son's partner) and Brandy (Donna's dog) they took me up Cypress Mountain in Vancouver as Wild Places (5 minute Youtube and almost 5000 views) will tell you more about.

Along with my first glowing experience of the sherpa volunteer program - Axel - and Jeanne, we went for an ice cream in Halls Gap and celebrated the first eight years of Australian TrailRider history.

There's much more to tell and many more to thank but try using the search box at the right to read posts about Ros Hart, John Kenwright, Rodney Brooke, Joanne Brooke...

The inventor of the TrailRider, Sam Sullivan (search again!) came very close yesterday to losing his seat on the Canadian, British Columbian, State Parliament but (and?) this will be the way he will be remembered 100 years from now.

Nurses Julie and Rhonda were auxiliary stars getting me up and out to be collected at 9am for Jeanne to drive, two hours on the wrong side of the road, to the Grampians National Park.