New Horizons Un-Limited: 2007 Press Release - Making the Outdoors Accessible, Two Cabins at a Time

A scene of people with various disabilities gathered around a blue lake, enjoying their home, community, the out-of-doors, health, recreation, housing, transportation and education with an accessible path for them to a high mountain and large yellow sun on the horizon.  New Horizons Un-Limited Inc.

Announcements and Features: Press Releases: 2007

Making the Outdoors Accessible, Two Cabins at a Time


For more information, contact:
New Horizons Un-Limited
P.O. Box 510034
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Phone: (414) 299-0124
FAX: (414) 347-1877

Making the Outdoors Accessible, Two Cabins at a Time!

-----What began as a tiny seed of an idea, in 1990, by Kayleen Brereton, a person with a disability and an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the Telephone Pioneers of America, who requested a contribution of design plans from the founders of New Horizons Un-Limited, a non-profit organization for people with disabilities of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has grown now to include the design of the 6th and 7th accessible cabin for people with disabilities in the Wisconsin State Parks. The cabins scheduled for construction this year, 2007, will be located at the J.M. Kohler-Terry Andrae State Parks, near Sheboygan, Wisconsin (currently under construction) and the Richard Bong State Recreation Area, near Burlington, Wisconsin, (currently under design). Each cabin's friends group approached New Horizons Un-Limited for assistance for the accessible issues and coordination of the design of their respective cabins with the State of Wisconsin. When finished, the cabins will feature numerous accessible amenities ensuring that all people with disabilities can freely use the cabin and the park's amenities without fear of hidden barriers.

New Horizons Un-Limited has been involved with the cabin projects from their inception. When Arthur Miller, founder of New Horizons Un-Limited became involved, in 1990, with the accessibility issues and design of the first cabin at Mirror Lake State Park in the Wisconsin Dells area, he remembered, "We believed that this was only the beginning and that five more should be built throughout the state." Constructed by the Telephone Pioneers of America volunteers for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, this first project became the road map for future cabins and for the concept of building the cabins through the contributions of design, local Friends of State parks groups and other community organizations, volunteer labor and contributions of materials and furnishings.

It was while involved on this first cabin, Art Miller formed the idea for New Horizons Un-Limited, a non-profit organization for people with disabilities. He believed for people with disabilities to be included in access to life opportunities, they needed to form a group that could together impact their collective futures. Three more cabins followed using the original design, built by the Telephone Pioneers, but in 2001, the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, then Accessibility Coordinator, Dotti Krieger, approached New Horizons Un-Limited to assist in standardizing the accessibility concept of the cabin plans for the DNR's "Cabin in the Woods, initiative." New Horizons Un-Limited coordinated a collaboration with the DNR, Miller Engineering Information Technologies Group and Strass-Maguire & Associates, architects, to set forth a directive of the design for future Wisconsin state park accessible cabins. "The history of the Cabin in the Woods program is a tribute to the people of Wisconsin," Krieger said.

In 2004, the next and 5th accessible cabin was built at High Cliff State Park near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin developed from these concept plans. This cabin inspired the Friends Group of the J.M. Kohler-Terry Andrae State Parks Accessible Cabin and the Kiwanis Club of Westosha-Salem for the Richard Bong State Recreation Area Accessible Cabin. These groups recently approached New Horizons Un-Limited and the design collaboration team for assistance on their respective 6th and 7th cabins for the Wisconsin State Parks.

Each cabin will feature a fully accessible bathroom and kitchen and an accessible sleeping porch. All rooms are large enough to allow for people in wheelchairs to move freely about the cabin, the entrance ramps, doorways, under counter space and the roll-in shower. Furthermore, all fixtures and controls are accessible, including the faucets, toilet, door and cabinet handles and light switches.

The existing Wisconsin State Park Accessible Cabins are in great demand every season with no dates left open. The diaries left in each cabin bear testimony to the sincere appreciation that each visitor has in being able to enjoy the outdoors with a camping experience through these cabins and the accompanying accessible paths and piers. There is no doubt of the remarkable need this project has filled in providing access to the outdoors and the Wisconsin State Parks; an opportunity that otherwise would not have been possible for individuals with disabilities and their families. The new cabins are proposed to open for the 2008 camping season.

Since inception, other states have begun to copy the Wisconsin accessible cabin model. The next step for New Horizons Un-Limited in expanding access to the outdoors for people with disabilities is to offer the accessible cabin concept to other state parks across the United States.

If you are interested in information or volunteering for the Accessible Cabin projects, do not hesitate to contact New Horizons Un-Limited at

Besides these two most recent cabins, the DNR accessible cabin sites at the five other state parks include:
Buckhorn State Park - (Necedah, WI)
Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit (Eagle, WI)
Mirror Lake State Park - (Baraboo, WI)
Potawatomi State Park - (Sturgeon Bay, WI)
High Cliff State Park - on Lake Winnebago (Appleton, WI)

Information on staying at an accessible "Cabin in the Woods" is available on the DNR website. ###

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[March 31, 2007]
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