We need your help! We’ve started compiling a list of ways in which we can all enjoy nature regardless of physical ability. Take a look at what we’ve found and send us your suggested additions so we can add them to the list. Or send us your wish list – things you wish were available but aren’t yet.
Birdability: Birdability is a US-based non-profit whose goal is to improve physical accessibility to birding locations, empower a welcoming and inclusive birding community, and introduce people with access challenges to birding. Their website provides a wide variety of resource materials, including Steps to Implement Accessible Outings, Adaptive Birding Equipment, Tips and Resources for Birders who are Blind or have Low Vision, and Ways You Can Enable Autistic Birders. They also offer a crowdsourced Birdability map describing the accessibility features of birding locations all over the world. Additional information is included in their blog and newsletter.
Birding by Ear for All: Birds Canada offers an online course on birding by ear, which is specially tailored for people with a visual impairment.
Parks Canada’s website provides a list of accessible trails, camping opportunities, and activities. These include boardwalks, shuttle bus service at Batoche, and wheelchair-friendly campgrounds. You can borrow an all-terrain wheelchair at Glacier National Park and a submersible wheelchair at the Canadian Rockies Hot Springs. Gros Morne rents a rustic cabin catering to visitors with sensory needs. It offers soft lighting, extra curtains, and removable seating.
Manitoba provides a list of accessible trails. Interpretive signs and brochures are available in alternate formats upon request.
Saskatchewan Parks provides beach wheelchairs free of charge, but they must be booked in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. Accessible campsites can be booked by campers with a valid Accessible Parking permit at a number of Saskatchewan’s provincial parks.
BlindSquare, a self-voicing app uses physical beacons and GPS data to communicate points of interest and directions on two Alberta Parks trails in Fish Creek and Lois Hole Provincial Parks. Three parks offer golf cart tours. Accessible campsites are identified when booking online.
Adapt Island shares up-to-date information about inclusive programs, adaptive sports equipment, and accessible outdoor activities on central Vancouver Island. Their website provides a list of accessible trails in BC and links to other relevant organizations.
US-based Wilderness Inquiry believes that everyone belongs in the outdoors. They organize a wide variety of outdoor adventure activities ranging from an introduction to wilderness camping for people with developmental disabilities to floating classrooms in 10-person canoes and hands-on virtual explorations for youth and adults.
The Saskatoon Nature Society’s Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon provides directions on how to get to the nature viewing sites listed using public transit.
Parkbus operates a free shuttle bus service to select national and provincial parks from Toronto and Vancouver.
Bus service is available from Calgary and Calgary Airport to Banff and Lake Louise. Shuttle service between campgrounds, Banff, Lake Louise, and various other destinations is also available.
The City of Victoria installs a seasonal beach mat at Ross Bay to support wheelchair access to the rocky beach. They’ve also added new crosswalks and curb let-downs, accessible parking stalls, a barrier-free 20-foot-long harvest picnic table with six wheelchair accessible spaces, and a ramp to the new beach mat. The mat will remain in place from June until the end of September.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/28131499097
EcoFriendly West informs and encourages initiatives that support Western Canada’s natural environment. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe by email.