The Foundation Partners with Multiple Institutions and Organizations

We are Involved with the Disabled and Several "Wounded Warrior Programs"


These partners (over 35 institutions and organizations affiliated with the disabled community) and Cross D Bar Ranch Recreation Foundation have teamed up to create a number of events throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Service men and women who are paralyzed, lost limbs, had head injuries and/or suffer from PST have access to the Cross D Bar Ranch for rehabilitation and recreational activites which fit the programs at Ft. Carson and other VA hospitals in the area.

Fishing Clinic - June 25, 2016


It has been a year or two since you have heard from us due to low water levels making the fishing unsatisfactory, however the climate has changed to give us more water and great fishing.


Our clinic is held for disabled and physically challenged men women and children from all of the urban and rural areas within the State of Colorado. We show them how, even with their physical and mental disabilities, they can enjoy this exciting recreational activity. The clinic also reinforces our commitment to help build their self-esteem and confidence as they strive to conquer their psychological physical barriers to the out-of-doors. IT IS ALWAYS A FUN DAY. The invitation is open for you and your family and/or any member of your staff to attend this heartwarming sight.


All of the severely disabled should be accompanied by a volunteer/staff member who likes to fish. The fishing takes place from a dam and shorelines of a spring fed lake with a variety of trout in full view of the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Mountains. During June we can expect a possible afternoon shower, therefore, all participants should be supplied with appropriate warm/rain gear. They should also bring a sack lunch which we will supplement with some drinks. Each of the disabled will be entitled to take two fish with them if they desire, therefore an appropriate container should be included. We are at an elevation of 9,300 feet. Anyone with respiratory or heart problems should take note of this fact. We have a nice covered Pavilion with a concrete floor by the lake accessible for wheelchairs.


We are approximately 13 miles east of Westcliffe off SH 96 2.2 miles on CR 328 (Rosita Rd.) to our entrance on the right. Call 719-783-2007 for further directions.


Volunteers assist with teaching fishing, helping with the mechanics of fishing and learning about fish habitat and environment. In addition, volunteers help with transportation around the Ranch and often help the disabled take their fish home (cleaning, providing ice, etc.). Most importantly, volunteers offer a friendly face.

Volunteers are always needed for Ranch projects, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .     



Please click here for information on Our 27th Annual "Fishing Clinic For The Disabled!"




The Benefits of Outdoor Activity for the Disabled

Are you the outdoor type? Do you love the scent of forests, the satisfaction of catching your own fish, the beautiful wildlife and the freedom to sleep under the stars? If you do, you’re not alone. In 2010, 40 million - 14% of the total US population over the age of six years - other people felt as you did and went camping. But what if you’re disabled? Most people take it for granted that they are able to enjoy whatever outdoor pursuit they wish to participate in, but for the disabled it can be much more challenging as they may have to deal with inaccessible camping grounds and facilities, toilets that don’t allow for wheelchairs and activities that are beyond the scope of their physical limitations. This puts camping, fishing and other outdoor recreation out of reach of some in the disabled community and denies them the fantastic health benefits that come with it, but it shouldn’t be this way. The Cross D Bar Recreation Foundation is at the forefront of providing disabled people with the same recreational activities as the rest of the population enjoys, so if you want to go camping, fishing, boating or enjoy the country air and the stunning scenery of the Colorado mountains, come and stay with us. Our organization accommodates everyone from the physically disabled, including servicemen injured in the line of duty, the mentally disabled, elderly and those suffering from mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Improving Social Functioning Through Recreation

Outdoor recreations can help reduce the effects of a person’s disability by improving their social functioning by enhancing life skills and introducing new ones. Not only will the person gain more independence, they can bolster their decision making skills and inter-personal skills and form new friendships that may even last for life. These friendships are another form of support for the disabled individual, particularly if they have become disabled through illness and have to adjust to a new way of life or cope with the loss of previous abilities or they are going through PTSD (for instance, amputees after combat).

Increasing Lifespan through a Wider Social Circle

In fact, social contacts and group participation are so important that they can lengthen lifespan. Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina looked at data from 148 separate studies on health outcomes and social relationships and discovered that those with poor social connections had double the chance of dying within the study’s follow up period (the average study had a follow up period of seven and a half years). The difference in lifespan is the same as that between smokers and non-smokers. Social isolation is in fact more dangerous to health than obesity, lack of exercise and other poor lifestyle choices, with medical trials showing larger death rates from having few friends than other factors. There are solid physical reasons for this. Blood pressure and heart rate stay at a lower level when a person is in the company of someone else and their brain also reacts differently. A person who is in company of a close friend or relative during times of stress has less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, an area of the brain that is activated in response to stress, so they have less of a physiological reaction to difficult circumstances than does the solitary person.

Improving Self-Esteem and Enriching Lives

Engaging in outdoor recreations helps maintain self-esteem and bring more meaning to the person’s life. This is especially true if the person is newly disabled, though, for instance, a brain injury as enjoying pursuits with others shows them that they still have the ability to participate in hobbies and soak in beautiful surroundings and that they can still enjoy their life despite their illness or injuries. Recreation also has other surprising benefits.  Disabled people who have a full and active social life usually have a better career and personal relationships and because of their enhanced job prospects, more money than their more isolated counterparts. This is probably because their recreational activities give them more confidence so open up more doors.

Reducing PTSD

Ex-servicemen may sometimes develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of their service or of the injuries they sustained while doing their duty. A person affected by PTSD may have repeated nightmares and flashbacks, find it difficult to sleep, be irritated by others or depressed and withdrawn. Research by Rivers of Recovery has found that going camping and fishing can help ease these distressing symptoms. They took 69Veterans on a fly-fishing excursion and performed psychological testing both before and after the trip. They found that the combination of camping in a relaxing environment and fishing reduced their stress, reduced their PTSD symptoms and gave them enhanced sleep quality. This was significant as most of the veterans had a long history of medication use and treatments which hadn't improved their symptoms.

Amputees can also benefit by getting out there with nature - a healing thing to do when they're grieving the loss of a body part and of a lifestyle they once had. Re-connecting with the natural world can ease depression and help them see they can still do the things they want to do. It may also be the first time an amputee has had the chance to use his prosthetic legs in water.

If the veteran has traumatic brain injury, eating his catch may actually aid in an improvement of their injury by increasing cognition and, if they have lost weight, helping them re-gain a healthy body weight.

Treating Pain Naturally

Depending on the condition, having a disability can bring pain and discomfort to the individual and with the pain, a loss of function that affects quality of life. For instance, elderly people sometimes get osteoarthritis (‘wear and tear’ arthritis), where the cartilage that helps joints to glide smoothly becomes eroded, resulting in exposed bone rubbing against bone and causing loss of range of movement, inflammation in the tissues and pain that can be severe, requiring the person to take strong painkillers. The effects of painkillers can cause further disability by damaging the stomach lining, weakening the immune system and impairing the body’s ability to clot.  Exercise is a well-known and safe tonic for arthritis and other joint conditions because it assists your body in producing its own supply of glucosamine, a substance that helps keep joints in tip top condition. Glucosamine is made from glucose and an amino acid called glutamine and it manufactures a molecule called glycosaminoglycan. This molecule is responsible for the formation of cartilage and its repair. Exercise triggers your body to produce glucosamine so regular, gentle exercise may ease pain and stiffness. Exercise also helps maintain muscle and bone strength and keep your weight down, avoiding obesity related complications.

Improving Lung Function

Spending time in the country, breathing in forest and mountain air can improve your lung function. People with disabilities often have co-morbidities (other illnesses in addition to their main disability, often as a consequence of the disability), for instance, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis or recurrent chest infections. Spending time in the country, inhaling cleaner air can strengthen your lungs.  A Norwegian study of children with asthma found that after spending time in a mountainous area and participating in regular exercise, their lung function was improved as demonstrated by stress tests.  This was thought to be because the area had less air pollution and allergens due to it being mountainous countryside. People with spinal cord injuries may find it difficult to cough depending on where in their spine they were injured and this failure to remove dust, mucus and saliva from the lungs can result in infection. An infection, even as simple as a cold, may develop into pneumonia. The risk of infection can be lessened if the person does breathing exercises. If the air is fresh, they have an added benefit.



When you give today, your gift is used immediately to help disabled persons receive access to outdoor recreation activities.  Here's how your donation is used:

$500 - Sponsors a disabled person - and his/her family - for a full week at the ranch.

$100 - Sponsors a disabled person  - and his/her family - for a full day at the ranch.

  $50 - Sponsors a disabled person for a full day at the ranch.

  $25 - Sponsors a disabled person for a half-day at the ranch. 

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