Local Hero: Tim Burr

Return to Dirt is making backcountry adventures accessible for everyone.

Tim Burr founded the non-profit Return to Dirt with the goal of bringing disabled athletes back to the backcountry. As a lifelong outdoorsman from Glenwood Springs who was paralyzed from the chest down in a skiing accident three years prior, Burr found himself in a unique position to help others who, like himself, love to get off the beaten track but can’t always do it alone.

“The problem we are trying to solve is that of outdoor accessibility. If you can’t walk, run, hike or bike into the backcountry, then the only way to get back there is with motorized assistance,” Burr says.

At no cost to the participants, Return to Dirt facilitates the perfect off-road adventure in one of their two Polaris RZRs. The vehicles are retro-fitted with hand controls and extra-supportive chest harnesses. Trips can be mild (view wildflowers in the Flattops) or wild (tear through the Moab desert in search of some hot, dusty speed). Last season, Burr worked with 34 different athletes, and he invites any interested individuals to apply, regardless of their previous experience level.

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