Study after study has proven the myriad of health benefits from time spent outdoors. Yet, access to wild places is often a barrier to the very people who need those benefits the most.
To aid in efforts to make one such wild place, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, more accessible, Memorial Medical Center in Ashland, Wisconsin recently announced a generous donation to Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for its “Access for All” initiative.
“We are happy to support the efforts of organizations that provide access to outside spaces that benefit individuals of all abilities.”
Memorial Medical Center is a Critical Access hospital with more than 50 full-time physicians and more than 600 employees.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, administered by the National Park Service, is one of only three national lakeshores in the country. Its 21 islands and 12 mile stretch of mainland shoreline protect dramatic scenery, vital wildlife habitat, historic lighthouses, and provide the opportunities for exactly the kind of outdoor experience that can be vital in rehabilitation and health, including popular sea kayaking adventures to its sea caves.
“Trips like this kept me from giving up when I learned of my progressive neurological disorder,” says paddler Annie Hickman.
“Paddling here has been life changing. It shows that I can still do the things I love. It is completely restorative even though I am a puddle when I am done.”
The Access for All initiative of Friends of the Apostle Islands is an effort in support of a series of new and ongoing accessibility projects undertaken by the National Park Service including replacing the 45 step staircase to Meyers Beach, the launching area for popular kayaking trips, with an all accessible ramp. Friends is working to raise $325,000 to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Centennial Fund of the National Park Service to help make this, and other projects, a reality.
“Our national parks belong to all of us,” says Jeff Rennicke, Executive Director of Friends, “including the 1 in 5 Americans with mobility issues. Access for All is an effort to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and the health benefits of our great outdoors. Friends greatly appreciates the generosity of Memorial Medical Center in helping make this a reality.”
To learn more about Access for All, read the rationale and project description on our website. Click here to donate now, or contact us at 715-449-6900 or by mail at Friends of the Apostle Islands, P.O. Box 1574, Bayfield, WI 54814.