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Volunteers aim to make Duluth Traverse Trail universally accessible

Brandon Weathers
Updated: July 24, 2020 08:43 AM

Two-time Paralympic medalist Lacey Heward is a naturalist at heart, and her offroad handcycle takes her places her wheelchair cannot.

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"My first experience riding was absolute freedom," Heward said, "And this gives me an opportunity to see parts of nature that I wouldn't otherwise get to experience."

The problem is, most trails aren't built with handcycles in mind.

"The bike has a much wider wheel base, so that makes it difficult on single track trails," Heward said.

COGGS volunteers are collaborating with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute to take inventory of how local trails accommodate hand cycles.

Sports and Recreation supervisor Eric Larson said, "What we want is Duluth to be open and accessible to a wide variety of cyclists and users of our trails."

Larson visited parts of the Duluth Traverse Trail with Heward to discover spots that make it difficult for her to ride.

Heward said, “This is gonna be an awesome opportunity for us to kind of explore and see what we can do here.”

The goal isn't to fundamentally change the trails, it's to make them a place handcyclists can ride without having to go off course.

"Sometimes I'll have to leave one wheel off of the bridge to get it over it," Heward said.

Over two days, volunteers took inventory of trouble spots on three sections of the Duluth Traverse Trail. The next step will be to make the minor adjustments they can, such as removing stumps and rocks as needed.

Beyond handcycle use, Larson said the changes they have in mind for narrow trails will ultimately prevent accidents among all trail users.

Join WDIO News at Ten every Thursday to get the latest tips and tricks you need to enjoy the trails in the Duluth area as well as updated trail conditions.

Credits

Brandon Weathers

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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