Jun 5, 2024 - News

This app is helping blind people see the splendor of Colorado's state parks

A woman in sunglasses with a mobility cane stands outside and holds her phone up to a state park sign.

Theresa Montano,  senior solutions architect for the Governor's Office of Information Technology's Technology Accessibility Program team, uses the Aira app at Chatfield State Park. Photo: Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

A digital tool is opening the eyes of blind adventurers to the beauty of Colorado's 42 state parks.

How it works: Aira, a mobile app, connects your smartphone or computer camera to professionally-trained virtual agents who offer real-time visual interpretation of the world around you.

  • That includes help with navigation, signs and landmarks, and reading park brochures.
  • The app offers free 30-minute sessions at a time, with the possibility to call back for additional complimentary sessions if needed.

What they're saying: This is a step toward ensuring "everyone feels welcome at our parks," and making them more "equitable and inclusive," Colorado Parks and Wildlife director Jeff Davis said in a statement.

Caveat: Because the app relies on video, a stable cellular connection is required — which can vary widely from park to park.

The big picture: The expansion of Aira at Colorado's parks — in addition to its availability at other state-operated facilities, like the Capitol — marks the latest effort to make public lands more accessible to people with disabilities.

  • In recent years at least two Colorado state parks, including Staunton and Ridgeway, have introduced track chairs that let people with mobility challenges traverse trails.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

Denverpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more