- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2017

MADISON LAKE, Minn. (AP) - Residents of a small Minnesota community have succeeded in saving a Canadian resort that’s equipped to handle disabled vacationers.

The Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure and four Thunder Bay organizations have agreed to keep the Wilderness Discovery Resort For the Disabled open for at least 20 years, the Free Press of Mankato (https://bit.ly/2lMaS7V) reported.

Madison Lake resident Kirk Williams, a disabled veteran, and his care providers, Kevin and Lorie Johnson, started their campaign after they were told their request for 2015 reservations at the facility probably couldn’t be honored. The nonprofit in charge of operating the facility had allowed its lease with the Ontario government to expire, and the provincial government began considering selling the property to a private entity.

The campaign included an online petition, the hashtag “Save Wilderness Discovery” and messages at concerts and sporting events.

Williams once worked as an advocate for people with disabilities. Health issues have made his voice faint, and he relies on others to help maneuver his wheelchair.

“Saving the camp put some juice back in him,” Kevin Johnson said of Williams‘ enthusiasm for the campaign.

Williams considers the resort exceptionally beautiful.

At each of the event the organizers attended, they asked entertainers and athletes to pose for a photograph with a “Save Wilderness Discovery” sign.

“All kinds of people responded,” Johnson said.

The four civic organizations involved in the agreement took notice when the group garnered thousands of Facebook followers by posting photos of athletes and musicians holding the signs.

“What’s important is that anyone with a disability who wants to enjoy the outdoors will have a place to go,” Johnson said..

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Information from: The Free Press, https://www.mankatofreepress.com

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