Organizations team up to increase outdoor access for all

Lake Forest Open Lands Association has announced its partnership with Access Ability Wisconsin as a host location for one of AAW's motorized All Terrain Outdoor Wheelchairs with an outfitted enclosed trailer.

"When LFOLA President Ryan London and his team reached out, we welcomed them with open arms," AAW president and founder Monica Spaeni said. "Together, we will make it as easy as possible for anyone with temporary or permanent mobility issues to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends or independently."

"We are thrilled to be the first Illinois partner with AAW," London said. "This partnership helps us deliver on our promise of making nature available for all, while raising awareness that there is a no-cost solution to the challenge of getting outdoors for those living with mobility difficulties."

As an AAW Network Host, LFOLA can rely on AAW's expertise in programming and adaptive equipment that provides increased outdoor access for those living with mobility challenges. Individuals can reserve the chair (available at no cost with a small deposit and required returned survey) and explore miles of trails at a favorite Lake Forest Open Lands' preserve and other local private or public lands using the provided AAW trailer.

Additionally, community organizations can reserve the LFOLA hosted AAW chair and trailer to provide more access to their outdoor events and activities.

These chairs can go where regular wheelchairs with skinny tires can't go. Providing access to these "hiking boots" allows anyone living with a physical disability an opportunity to experience the dignity and freedom to enjoy the great outdoors solo or with family and friends.

Since its establishment in 1967, Lake Forest Open Lands, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and the first accredited land trust in Illinois, has acquired, preserved and maintained some of the finest natural habitats in the region, including prairies, savannas, ravines and wetlands.

Over 16 miles of walking trails and six - soon to be nine - nature preserves are open to the public year-round. Lake Forest Open Lands Association's vision is to engage and expand the public's commitment to land preservation and conservation, and the organization offers robust engagement programming to connect all people to nature.

As an independent conservation land trust, LFOLA is supported solely by voluntary contributions, including membership dues and donations, and receives no local or state government funding to support its day-to-day operations. For more information about Lake Forest Open Lands, visit

Access Ability Wisconsin is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to facilitating and providing the means for individuals with mobility challenges to access and enjoy the outdoors, promoting equity and healthy living.

The opportunity to have an Access Ability Wisconsin Outdoor Wheelchair enables clients to be more equally engaged with society. Benefits include independence and spontaneity, and may reduce feelings of depression and isolation. Results show lives are improved for individuals with a mobility challenge and their families. AAW's goal is to have at least one AAW all-terrain outdoor chair in all 72 Wisconsin counties and surrounding states.

Contact President Monica Spaeni about "Outdoors Access 4 All!" via email at or visit

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