Thanks to the very generous spirit of volunteerism of 19 individuals who from Nanaimo to Campbell River, the Strathcona Wilderness Institute was able to make BC Parks’ Accessibility Day initiative a success for the 60, or more, participants who came with family to experience Strathcona Park’s beauty over the long weekend.
The celebration showcased the use of two local TrailRiders, which enabled British Columbian visitors with mobility challenges to access some of B.C.’s most spectacular backcountry at Strathcona Park. Visitors to the SWI Centre were also able to access wheelchairs for use on the one-kilometre Centennial Boardwalk, which gives visitors access to alpine flora and views. The walks were accompanied by naturalist interpretation of flora and fauna by SWI directors and staff, and Park superintendent, Andy Smith.
Many visitors were not aware of SWI’s mobility access program. SWI has on TrailRider, which visitors can book for a service charge of $10 daily, as well as four wheelchairs on loan free of charge. Interested visitors can either bring their own sherpas or arrange with SWI to contact our list of possible volunteers. The TrailRider can be in high demand as it is also used in rescue operations, in lieu of a stretcher. One of the TrailRiders used last weekend this came from Campbell River and the other is housed at SWI’s Mount Washington base.
Accessibility Day made evident the need for a second TrailRider at the SWI. There is, therefore, a need to fundraise about $12K for a second TrailRider to support this program. All donations for this to SWI (http://strathconapark.org/support-us/) are welcome!
SWI also runs a number of hiking, citizen science and educational programs. Anyone interested in Strathcona Wilderness Institute activities can also contact us at the website https://strathconapark.org, or Loys Maingon at 250-331-0143.