As summer rapidly approaches, many of us imagine spending time enjoying the outdoors. Did you know that there are a variety of accessible recreation opportunities through the chapter area? Many of these programs are free. Did you also know that the chapter provides a scholarship reimbursement for participation in these accessible recreation programs if there is a cost associated with your participation?
Partners on the Chapter’s growing accessible recreation network include the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Universal Access Program (www.mass.gov/dcr/universal_access/), Northeast Passage (www.nepassage.org/) and Duxbury Bay Maritime School’s ACCESSAIL Sailing Program (www.dbms.org). New providers are continually being added. Contact the Chapter for an updated list of providers in your community!
In addition to these partners, there are many excellent accessible recreation trails, warm weather programs and recreation opportunities in the Greater New England area (keep in mind that many organizations also provide recreation programs during the winter months as well). For example, in Vermont there are currently three wheelchair accessible hiking trails. These scenic trails include Camel’s Hump View Trail in Camel’s Hump State Park, a boardwalk path on a portion of the Appalachian Trial in the Killington area, and a trail in one of Vermont’s Historical Revolutionary War sites in Orwell. For a list of accessible hiking trails and programs nationwide, visit http://gorp.away.com/gorp/eclectic/disabled.htm.
For those looking for more than hiking, there are many programs affiliated with Disabled Sports USA, including Northeast Passage, Vermont Ski and Sports (www.vermontadaptive.org), and Central Maine Adaptive Sports (www.cmasports.org). These organizations offer a variety of warm weather programs that include but are not limited to: indoor rock climbing, sailing, canoeing & kayaking, tandem cycling, guided trips and excursions, camping, horseback riding, hand cycling, and Paralympic sport club events.
For more information regarding the chapters Accessible Recreation Scholarship program and our participating partners, contact the chapter at 1-800-344-4867. Stay up to date with about the various recreation programs available in your community, visit our website, www.MSnewengland.org.
Whatever your hearts desire, there is an opportunity to for everyone to spend time out doors this season. Enjoy!
The Maine office of the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society presents its signature event this summer.
The 29th Annual MS Harborfest weekend begins on Thursday, August 19 and continues through Sunday, August 22.
On Thursday evening, a Benefit Auction featuring popular auctioneer Tom Saturley starts the weekend celebration at the Ocean Gateway in Portland. Hundreds of unique items donated by local artists and merchants are up for bid. The MS Harborfest Auction is a great way to support the Greater New England Chapter’s effort to fund local programs and research and to ultimately find a cure for multiple sclerosis
Friday evening, a Sponsors and Skippers Reception for the sailboat regatta takes place at Handy Boat in Falmouth.
On Saturday, the cornerstone of the weekend takes place—the Annual MS Harborfest Parade of Sail and MS Regatta in Portland Harbor. The regatta draws more than a hundred boats, displaying their colors with skippers, crew and sponsors aboard. The MS Harborfest Regatta is the largest regatta in Maine and the largest charity sailing event in the Northeast. After the regatta, folks gather back at Handy Boat for a celebration, complete with barbecue, live music and the awards ceremony.
Also on Saturday, the MS Harborfest Powerboat Poker Run takes place on Casco Bay. Participants are encouraged to “dress ship” with decorations or costumes. After a 10:30 a.m. parade around Portland Harbor, the boats travel to area marinas (where each stop will feature a theme and giveaways) to pick up a card-stop tag before tying up at DiMillo’s Marina for a barbecue and awards ceremony. But participants don’t need a boat to join the fun; anyone can register at the door for the party and a poker hand. The Poker Run will take place under the tent, rain or shine.
On Sunday, the annual MS Harborfest Tugboat Parade and Muster and MS Harborfest Shoreside Festival takes place on the Maine State Pier. In the afternoon, the tugboats line up for an impressive parade, after which, they participate in exciting competitions and races on Casco Bay. New for 2010 is the MS Lobster Boat Races. Stay tuned for more details for what promises to be a rollicking event. The MS Harborfest is a great opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the coastal culture that is unique to Maine, but more importantly, it raises awareness and the funds needed to support those who are affected by this debilitating disease.