Open the Outdoors
Winter in Wisconsin is a difficult time for many people with disabilities; not only to enjoy the outdoors but just to get around and complete simple tasks outside of the home due to snow.
Cross-country sit skis
Our cross-country sit skis are an amazing opportunity for people with mobility impairments to get out into the peace and solitude of winter. The sit skis are available for free use at the six locations listed below. All of these locations have flat groomed trails that allow for easier maneuverability.
- Buckhorn State Park
- Governor Nelson State Park
- Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak Unit
- Mirror Lake State Park
- Richard Bong State Recreation Area
For individuals with mobility impairments, we now offer a unique way to experience the outdoors. Buckhorn, Council Grounds, Devil's Lake, Mirror Lake, and Perrot state parks all have kayaks available equipped with a number of adaptive devices.
Most noticeable are the outriggers near the back of the kayak. Able to adjust to four different widths depending on the user's level of function, these provide incredible stability on the water. A raised back with side supports offers the user a comfortable and secure seat while paddling. Not only is this adjustable as well, but parts of it can be removed altogether for individuals with greater upper-body function. Lastly, the paddle is equipped with hand braces that make paddling easier for individuals with limited grip.
These adapted kayaks are available just for people with disabilities. Whether you were a paddler prior to a disability or have never had an opportunity to get out on the water in a kayak due to physical limitations, we highly encourage you to get to one of these four state parks to give it a try.
See more about adaptive kayaks and see former DNR Accessibility Coordinator Andy Janicki in action in an adaptive kayak in videos from
- Adaptive kayak and other accessible activities brochure
- Adaptive kayak and other accessible activities brochure - high resolution
Many of our state parks with beaches feature different elements of accessibility on normally inaccessible terrain.
Some parks have specialized beach wheelchairs with large inflatable tires that allow for easy rolling on sand and entry into the water. Others have laid down accessible beach trails that provide a solid surface for people in wheelchairs or those who have difficulty walking. Come get your feet wet!
- Big Bay State Park has a beach wheelchair
- Buckhorn State Park has a beach wheelchair
- Copper Falls State Park has a paved accessible trail along the water’s edge at the Loon Lake beach.
- Harrington Beach State Park has a beach wheelchair
- Kohler-Andrae State Park has both a beach trail and two beach wheelchairs, one for general use and the other available at the accessible cabin
- Whitefish Dunes State Park has both a beach trail and beach wheelchair