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Bald Mountain rustic cabin is accessorized with accessibility

September 18, 2013 - Enthusiasts of rustic camping can have a new rouse to rent Morel Cabin at Bald Mountain State Park.

Volunteers from the United Auto Workers (UAW)-Ford and Ford Motor Company built a universally accessible deck for the rentable cabin over the summer, making it accessible for people with disabilities.

"Anyone that was in a wheelchair could not get into those cabins," Andrew Cole, Bald Mountain Recreation Area Supervisor, said. "It's the first cabin that we have with universal accessibility so that is why it was such a great project that they did for us."

Both of the rentable cabins in Bald Mountain's North Unit were built over thirty years ago—Morel Cabin in 1979 and Arrowroot in 1969—and are slowly being updated to "current needs and standards."

"There are people who would love to get out to recreate and we need to have access for them to do that," Cole continued. "That's where we are trying to go with these buildings."

Another future project by the UAW Ford Community Service Team will reconfigure the internal access of the other rentable cabin, Arrowroot. Pinpointed for the beginning of December, the UAW will redesign the bunk beds so they are also universally accessible, with plans to add a deck and ramp farther on.

These projects have been on the Bald Mountain staff's radar, Cole said, but with lacking funds and part-time employees, it would not have been completed for another year or two.

"The biggest problem was how were we going to get the part-time park staff to do that deck," he said. "The labor was made available with the UAW, they were able to just step right in after we got the materials, and got started right away."

The partnership began between Bald Mountain and the UAW Ford community service team back in January when the Michigan DNR Metro Detroit District Supervisor Luba Sitar (who retired three weeks ago) began talks with the volunteer group, planning projects centralized in the metro-Detroit area.

This Bald Mountain build was the second project the UAW completed for the state parks.

Wetlands of metro Detroit's Milliken State Park received the first project. The UAW connected little islands with bridges for educational groups and other recreators to walk to the center of the wetland area.

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