The Mike Utley Terrain Park at Craig Hospital

What: Craig Hospital, in Denver, will be opening an outdoor terrain park in July 2008. This space will be used to ensure that patients who complete Craig’s rehabilitation program can lead the most independent, active and healthy lives possible. Many patients at Craig have to learn how to walk again, propel a manual wheelchair or operate a power chair. The terrain park will expose patients and their families to multiple outdoor challenges during in-patient rehabilitation.

Background: In 1976, John Minden was admitted to Craig after suffering an accident as a teenager. His visit lasted only nine weeks, but this was just the beginning of his relationship with Craig Hospital. John returned to Craig again in 1990, this time not as a patient, but as a physical therapist. He had been teaching an advanced skill wheelchair class for a few years when the concept of the Mike Utley Terrain Park came to him. He dreamed of a place for patients to practice many different wheelchair skills right in Craig Hospital’s backyard.

Donors: It has been two years of hard work and planning since John made his first sketches of the park. In that time the original plans have transformed into a park designed by H+L Architecture costing approximately $180,000. Thanks to generous grants from the Mike Utley Foundation, the Cloverleaf Foundation and the Colorado Garden Show, the original vision is now a reality.  Over 200 donors to a brick campaign in the park also provided some funding for the project.  

About Craig Hospital: Craig Hospital is a world-renowned private, nonprofit rehabilitation hospital and research center that specializes exclusively in treatment and research of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Craig treats patients from around the world. The hospital has ranked in the top 10 Rehabilitation Hospitals for 18 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report magazine. For more information about Craig please visit