Beach Access at Wilderness State Park – Fundraising Continues

BY MATTHEW MIKUS, featured in The Petoskey News on July 8, 2016.

Faith Dunshee on the ADA Walk at the Petoskey State Park

Faith Dunshee, an active Disability Network volunteer, shows Matt Mikus how the ADA Walk works at the Petoskey State Park.

A fundraising effort will try to raise $13,250 to provide beach access to Wilderness State Park for those with mobility barriers.

Disability Network of Northern Michigan, a nonprofit based in Traverse City, has worked to provide both mobi-mats and deck walking access.

The project is part of the organization’s Access for Everyone campaign to provide ways to break down barriers to everyday life experiences. For the beach, that includes providing mobi-mats or walkways to traverse the sand, and a wheelchair designed to float in the water, providing an opportunity to swim.

“With the mobi-mats (and brock docks), they’re really applicable for all sorts of people,” said Dayna Valpey, director of development for Disability Network. “For young parents with strollers, to somebody in a wheelchair, with an elderly person with a cane, to a veteran that might have a prosthetic leg or limb.”

Projects have been completed at Zorn Beach in Harbor Springs, Petoskey State Park, Whiting Park in the Boyne City/Charlevoix area, Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga and Camp Daggett.

The new project in Wilderness State Park will be completed in phases.

“We’re trying to empower people to be able to live their lives independently,” Valpey said.

Faith Dunshee of Petoskey is an active volunteer for Disability Network who helped to secure a number of projects for Emmet and Charlevoix beaches. She is in a wheelchair and for her the access and equipment is the difference between rolling down to the water and being carried into the water.

“I want to be as independent as I possibly can,” Dunshee said. “And having someone carrying me out, that wasn’t independent for me.”

For more information. call (231) 922-0903 or email dayna@disabilitynetwork.net.

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