Accessible Keweenaw Initiative

The Accessible Keweenaw Initiative (AKI) is a community-led effort to enhance access for all mobility-levels to the Keweenaw's outdoors, cultural amenities and historical points of interest. While the Keweenaw is rich with abundant natural beauty and incredible history, significant mobility barriers need to be addressed to facilitate universal access for community members and visitors. AKI intends to bring community members, subject matter experts, and local leaders to identify opportunities for improvement.

AKI Mission

AKI seeks to make the Keweenaw a national leader in universally accessible outdoor and cultural recreation and community education focused on barrier-free recreation.

About AKI

AKI seeks to identify opportunities to enhance the accessibility of the Keweenaw's outdoor, cultural and historical sites through subject matter expert-led assessments and capital investments. AKI aggregates the necessary resources to identify and assess high priority community sites and work with community partners to invest in site accessibility improvements and community awareness. Hopefully, the initiative's success will inspire other communities to make progress as well. 

Why Access Matters

The Keweenaw attracts community members and visitors who love nature, small towns, and the Copper Country's rich history. Access to these amenities is an important way of life for those who live here. Preserving access to special places as our community members age-in-place is critical to preserving the local way of life for many.

Building an inclusive outdoors is also an underlying tenet of Responsible Recreation. As we seek to enhance responsible and sustainable recreation, it's important to make the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

family on accessible boardwalk trail in wetlands

Assessment Work

During the summer of 2023, the Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL) completed 20 site accessibility assessments in the Keweenaw region. Assessments provide site's with recommendations to reduce mobility barriers focused on parking, entrances, restroom facilities and experiences. Sites were selected based on guidance from Coalition partners prioritizing area which serve both visitors and residents.  

Assessed Sites

  • A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum
  • Bete Grise County Park
  • Boston Pond Nature Area
  • Brockway Mountain Summit
  • Calumet Colosseum
  • Copper Harbor Visitor Center
  • Dee Stadium
  • Eagle Harbor Beach
  • Eagle River & Jacobs Falls
  • Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
  • Estivant Pines Trailhead
  • Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
  • Hancock Beach & Campground
  • Houghton County Arena
  • Houghton County Marina
  • Houghton Waterfront Trail
  • McLain State Park
  • Paavola Wetlands Nature Area
  • Ray Kestner Park

Two women assess park for accessibility


AKI is funded through support from the Keweenaw Community Foundation providing a grant from their Community Impact Fund and the Herman "Winks" Gundlach Fund held at the Keweenaw Community Foundation


AKI is led by a coalition of community organizations and subject matter experts. The coalition is responsible for identifying priority sites, pursuing funding for site improvements, and sharing information to the broader community about places residents and visitors can go that are barrier-free. The Coalition is currently being formed, but includes the following organizations thus far:

  • Keweenaw Community Foundation
  • Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL)
  • Western U.P. Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR)
  • Visit Keweenaw

Contact Information

Rachael Pressley, Western UP Planning & Development Region,

Brad Barnett, Visit Keweenaw,