June 1, 2018
Contact: Nancy Lee Gomer, Marketing Coordinator, 636-949-7535, or 636-795-1137, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Charles County, Missouri – St. Charles County Parks Department employees recently teamed up with the local biking community on a project that provides special needs cyclists better access to trails at the County’s Bangert Island park in St. Charles. Members of Gateway Off-Road Cyclists (GORC), approached the Parks Department after one of their riders was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Staff quickly came together to build a new bridge; steel beams were set, bridge decking was assembled, and after more than 1,300 joints were welded together, a new bridge was constructed and installed in the park.
“We have a wonderful relationship with the St. Charles County cycling community,” says Parks Director Ryan Graham, “and we are so glad it was brought to our attention that widening the bridge at the park would make it more accessible for all park visitors. Our goal is to ensure guests in all our parks have an enjoyable experience.”
One of the local riders who was having difficulties accessing Bangert Island was David Frei. Recently diagnosed with ALS, a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles, Frei was determined to continue to ride the trails. He went from riding a standard mountain bike, to using a pedal assisted bike, and now is able to ride only a trike-style mountain bike on the trails. That bike was too wide to cross the former bridge.
After learning that Bangert Island was one of the few park trails Frei could still ride and knowing the challenges he was experiencing, GORC members contacted the parks department about widening the bridge.
St. Charles County Park staff recently installed the new bridge. It is 4 feet wide and spans 20 feet in length, twice as wide as the old bridge, and crosses over a slough on River Link Trail near the entrance to the park.
St. Charles County Parks strives to meet ADA standards in all park areas. Accessible playground equipment, restrooms, parking lots, picnic tables, shelters and other equipment and facilities make it easy for those with disabilities to enjoy the beauty and recreation offered by our growing St. Charles County Parks system.
Nearly 4 miles of natural-surface trail is available for hikers and bicyclists to enjoy at Bangert Island, a 160-acre park located on an Island off the historic Katy Trail in St. Charles. The terrain in the park is relatively flat with soft soil conditions and is perfect for beginners. The wooded-lined paths offer scenic views of the adjacent Missouri River and is home to countless wildlife species and native flora. In addition to bird-watching, hiking, bicycling, and photography, park guests may also fish along the banks of the Missouri River that flows below the park.
For more information about St. Charles County Parks, visit www.stccparks.org or call 636-949-7535.