COLORADO SPRINGS — A kid named Daniel goes at the wheelchair equivalent of a run, up one of the newly installed accessibility ramps at Helen Hunt Falls in North Cheyenne Canon. Asked what he thinks of the falls, he gives a thumbs up. Daniel’s Mom, Esther said, “I just want to celebrate.” This is Daniel’s first time seeing the falls in Colorado Springs up close.
Daniels’s a goer, but he can only go where his wheelchair goes. The family has driven by the falls before without stopping. This day is different. “It was a great surprise to see the parking and the ramps, and he was so excited to be able to get out,” said Esther.
Recent upgrades to North Cheyenne Canon make the open space park more accessible to individuals with disabilities. “It now provides an incredible opportunity,” said Colorado Springs Parks, Senior Landscape Architect, David Deitemeyer. There are four prime spots with accessibility changes now in place. Adaptions for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been happening for a long time. It is common, but in North Cheyenne Canon it is not simple. “Just because of the technical challenges of building a flat spot on a mountainside,” said Deitemeyer, “So we’re very strategic to where those locations are to provide accessibility.”
The changes do not guarantee everyone can navigate all the mountain trails in the park. Even people with no disability have to pick and choose trails they can handle. It does bring better options for everyone to experience the open space. “It means those folks who can’t hike as far can still come and enjoy the beautiful nature of Cheyenne Canon, said Deitemeyer