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CPW News Release
Staunton State Park set to celebrate 1,000th track chair trip on Saturday

Jason Clay
Northeast Region Public Information Officer

Staunton State Park set to celebrate 1,000th track chair trip on Saturday

Colorado Governor Jared Polis stopped by Staunton State Park on July 27, 2021 to check out the track chair program

PINE, Colo. - With three trips scheduled to explore the trails on Saturday, Sept. 4, Staunton State Park and The Friends of Staunton State Park group will be celebrating the 1,000th track chair trip for its remarkable program. 

Started in June 2017, the track chair program provides a motorized wheelchair to disabled hikers, offering them an opportunity of a lifetime to experience the great outdoors of Colorado. Supported by the non-profit group, Friends Of Staunton State Park, four motorized wheelchairs give users of all ages, disabilities and styles the opportunity to hike on mountain trails, fish at two ponds, experience the roar of a mountain stream and feel the Colorado wind in their hair.

Natalie Bostow has been the track chair program manager since 2018. She coordinates the scheduling of trips, volunteers to accompany the hiker and works directly with the full-time staff and the Friends group to ensure the trips go without a hitch. 

“As we hit 1,000 trips I think about every individual that’s been impacted by our program,” Bostow said. “The fathers who’ve gotten to hike with their daughters for the first time. The families that got to enjoy one last adventure with their grandparents. I think about the participant who joyfully tipped her head back in the rain, something she hadn’t felt in years. The participant who for years had dreamed of sitting next to a stream, so she literally sat next to the stream with her eyes closed for hours. 

“I think of all the happy tears that have been shed by individuals who for the first time in years, are able to enjoy the Colorado outdoors. This program is more impactful than I think any of us could have imagined.”

Staunton even brought the program to another state park. In January, Staunton State Park donated a track chair to Barr Lake State Park. Barr Lake purchased a second track chair in June and so far in 2021 their users have totaled 52.5 miles on the track chairs.

“We hope to start expanding our track chair programs this fall with the bird migration,” said Michelle Seubert, Barr Lake State Park Manager.

Staunton volunteer and neighbor Ted Hammon initiated the idea for the program back in 2016 after bringing his neighbor Mark Madsen to the park in a track chair borrowed from Craig Hospital several times in 2014.

“It seems like only yesterday that Mark Madsen and I took off on the first track chair trek in Staunton State Park,” Hammon said. “We were excited to see what this new technology could do and if we could get him back where he hiked and mountain biked in his younger years before his accident.”

Hammon said that Madsen had a highly adventurous spirit.

“Believe me, we had many adventures with that first loaner track chair figuring out what it could and could not do in Staunton,” he said. “Mark liked to say, ‘I am a highly functioning quadriplegic, focusing on what I can do, not what I cannot do.’ Sadly we lost Mark to a sudden illness in 2015, but I know my buddy Mark is looking down with a giant smile on his face as every track chair hiker takes off on the trail.”

Staunton’s program has had users from as far as London come out to use its program and many families plan their vacations around their ability to access the track chairs. Users have ranged in age from two years old to 90 years old.

When Friends of Staunton State Park was able to donate the very first track chair, Hammon said back then that it would impact so many other people than just those in the chair.

“I told many of my fellow volunteers that taking someone on a track chair hike will not only make the track chair hiker smile, but also their family, their friends and many, many other hikers they meet on the trail,” he said. “But mainly this experience would put an indelible smile on the volunteer's heart forever.”

Track chair volunteer Mike Thompson, who celebrated his 110th guided trip recently, shared his experiences and what this program means to him.

“The track chair program is extremely meaningful and rewarding to me,” Thompson said. “Having a wife with MS who no longer can hike on her own, I know how much it means for our participants to be able to get out on trail, be out in nature and have a small measure of ‘normalcy’ for the short amount of time we spend with them. 

“From the ear-to-ear smiles and squeals of non-verbal kids to the adults who have been wheelchair bound and just want to recline by a creek and soak in the sounds and smells that they haven’t been able to enjoy for decades. I’ve even had several participants from out of state who specifically vacationed here for one of their family members to use the track chairs. Each hike has been enjoyable and meaningful for both myself and the participants and the joy it brings to them is incredible.”

One thousand trips is certainly a huge milestone for Staunton and the community that experiences the Colorado outdoors again. This program is still in its infancy and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be looking to expand this program to other state parks. 

“We look forward to many more trips and hope that this experience can bring joy to many more families and friends,” said Zach Taylor, Staunton State Park Manager. “We even have plans to add a fifth track chair to our inventory.”

To learn more about Staunton’s track chair program or to make reservations, please visit its website by clicking here

Barr Lake has an email address people can send in to request for a reservation at

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