Trailrider helping more people enjoy the outdoors

If you enjoy bushwalking and would like to help someone who can't walk to get out into the bush, then the upcoming Trailrider sherpa volunteer training day may be just for you.

Dr David Stratton in the Trailrider helped up to Boronia Peak by Ben, Josh, Flynn and Rodney.

Dr David Stratton in the Trailrider helped up to Boronia Peak by Ben, Josh, Flynn and Rodney.

Trailrider all terrain wheelchairs are a cross between a rickshaw and a wheelchair and allow people with mobility limitations to get out and enjoy more rugged bush trails where conventional wheelchairs cannot go.

There are ten Trailrider all terrain wheelchairs located around Victoria and people can book these chairs through Parks Victoria or through selected local councils free of charge.

The Trailrider needs sherpas to push and pull it along a trail and the number of people needed depends on the difficulty of the trail.

Parks Victoria is aiming to train people as sherpa volunteer to help Trailrider users in the Grampians National Park. When a TrailRider is booked by someone in this park, there is a group of people available to help sherpa the rider along.

You don't need to be super fit, but a love of being outdoors and good general fitness will be useful.

"Parks Victoria will teach everyone involved in the training how to manoeuvre the Trailrider and how to support the person in the chair to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable park experience. We will spend some time out on a bush trail to practise our skills in a real situation," said Parks Victoria Community Activation Coordinator John Kenwright.

The details of the training are: Saturday, April 18 from 10.00am to 1.00pm. Brambuk - the National Park and Cultural Centre, Halls Gap

RSVP today to Caitlyn O'Reilly on (03) 5361 4000 or 0428 553 040.

"Being able to get out in the bush once again is an absolute joy," Dr David Stratton, the man responsible for introducing the Trailrider to Australia said.

"For many years after my MS diagnosis, I thought my days of bushwalking were over.

"Now I can enjoy that pleasure again, I want to ensure that as many other 'wheelies' as possible have the chance to get out into the bush too."

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson said there is irrefutable evidence that parks are good for our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

"I encourage everyone - regardless of your level of mobility - to get out of the house or work place and find your park connection," Dr Jackson said.

"It's time to re-connect with nature."

If you would like any further information about the sherpa training or the TrailRider all terrain wheelchairs in general, please contact John Kenwright at Parks Victoria on 13 1963.

For more information on this and other accessibility features in parks across Victoria go to http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/visit/improving-park-access-for-all/victorias-parks-are-more-accessible-than-ever

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