Salt Lake City refinery Training Supervisor Brock Carter was injured in 2015 when he crashed the 4-wheeler he was driving in the Little Sahara sand dunes in Utah. He was taking his family to see the Spider Tree, a popular attraction in the sand dunes, when he flipped off the vehicle. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. With the support of his wife and co-workers, the active outdoorsman was determined to push through therapy and rehabilitation to continue doing what he loved. He proved successful, and now he’s helping others experience the outdoors like they never have before.
“We provide track chairs that allow people to move through rough terrain. In these chairs, people who rely on a wheelchair to get around can go camping and hiking with their families ... The joy on their faces is indescribable.” - Brock Carter
“One year after the accident, I went back to finish the ride I started to the Spider Tree at Little Sahara. I never doubted that I could get back there,” Carter said. “And working for a very supportive company, I was able to make my own path in my career, too. There’s nothing holding me back. That’s huge for me, but I’ve realized that not everyone gets that opportunity.”
Carter said he did find it difficult to do some things he loved, like hunting, camping and fishing. He noticed there was a lack of resources and activities in Utah for people with disabilities, so he started a chapter of Disabled Outdoorsmen to help. Disabled Outdoorsmen of Utah, DOUTAH, provides unique opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the outdoors.
“Many people with disabilities and families with a child with disabilities are limited to what they can do because they just are not able to get around,” Carter said. “We provide track chairs that allow people to move through rough terrain. In these chairs, people who rely on a wheelchair to get around can go camping and hiking with their families. We host hunting and fishing trips for people with disabilities. The joy on their faces is indescribable.”
Now Carter is sharing his passion for the outdoors with anyone up for the experience. One of his favorite events is hosting a Shed Hunt for youth with disabilities and their siblings. Volunteers place antlers that have been shed by deer, elk and moose on the property the night before the hunt. Carter said many of the kids have never had the chance to participate in this Utah tradition of gathering antlers shed by bucks in late winter.
“One of the kids had autism, and his mom said she’s never seen him stay focused on a task for more than a few minutes. Yet, he was running around finding horns and screaming every time. His mom was in tears,” Carter said. “All kids and their siblings kept the horns and antlers they found. We see that many families don’t do things when they have a child with disabilities – the whole family is limited. But the Shed Hunt – that was a perfect day.”
Carter started the nonprofit organization in January 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to isolate. He was able to help people get access to the outdoors when they needed it most. Today, DOUTAH continues to grow and add more events that allow everyone to experience the wildlife of Utah.
“Don’t listen to someone who says you can’t. You may not do it the same way as others, but you must believe in yourself. When you’ve worked for it, you appreciate everything so much more when you make it happen,” Carter said.
The Disabled Outdoorsmen Utah chapter is part of the national Disabled Outdoorsman USA organization.