Free trolley ride offered for disabled folks to explore Mickelson Trail

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DEADWOOD, S.D. (KEVN) - The Mickelson Trail lets people see the natural beauty of the Black Hills, but not everyone is able to trek it alone.

We show you how folks with physical disabilities can experience the Mickelson Trail.

The Mickelson Trail contains more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four rock tunnels.

Many people bike or hike along the path to explore it, but some people cannot make the long trip.

That's why Game, Fish, and Parks and the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce hosted Trolley on the Trail.

Dana Garry-Reiprich says, "The Mickelson Trail in itself is actually ADA acceptable, but it's a crushed limestone surface. And because it is 109 miles long, to use an electric wheelchair on the surface is just not feasible because you have about a four hour lifespan with the battery in an electric wheelchair or a scooter. You just can't get from trailhead to trailhead in four hours."

The ride started at Englewood Trailhead and ended down in Rochford.

Betty Cowles from Newcastle, Wyoming says this is her second timing riding the trolley.

Katrina Lim asks, "How do you feel about taking the trolley today?"

Betty Cowles says, "I think it's wonderful. It's a wonderful opportunity for us old people that can't do it any other way."

Wyoming native Dusty Rhoades uses a cane for balance because of his Parkinson's disease... but says he's happy to have easier access to the Mickelson Trail.

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Dusty Rhoades says, "It's beautiful, the scenery, heavy forest. The tunnels are exciting. It's a fun ride."

The trail manager hosted three other trolley rides this season and says it's the passengers that make the tour fun.

Dana Garry-Reiprich says, "It's wonderful. It's a great time for us to share our knowledge of the area. As you noticed we have a lot of older folks out here that have a little bit more experience in life than myself and some of them have actually ridden the train when the train was on the rail tracks that we will be on today."

The next trolley ride is September 12th at 10 A.M.

It will start in Hill City and go up to the Mystic Trailhead.

You need to make a reservation before riding, so call the Hill City Chamber of Commerce if you're interested.