Our vision around inclusive hiking highlights an incredible adaptive device called the TrailRider. It is purpose-built by the Disability Foundation as they “manufacture and sell TrailRiders through a social venture, Kawak Access Equipment Inc. Proceeds from sales help to support BCMOS outdoor recreation programs”. We recently met with members from BC Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS), Strathcona Wilderness Institute, and had folks from CRIS Adaptive contribute to the learning. We are all using this device to increase access to the outdoors, venture to incredible places, and create connection and belonging to a community of people. Our goal is to review what knowledge is out there around use and maintenance of this equipment, and align our practices so we can partner with ease, and cross refer participants to one another’s programs across BC. As our partners in the Parks and Tourism sector are having an increased interest in running inclusive hiking programs, we want to make sure there is a high standard of training that goes into the use of the equipment which considers people’s dignity and respect, as well as the rider’s comfort, mobility and stability.

There is an event happening in July at the Strathcona Wilderness Institute to get people out on the trails and use the TrailRider. If you are heading up that way go and check out their program! They have a specific trail that is designed to accommodate the TrailRiders big wheel and promote ease of use of the device. They are leading by example of how parks can create universal access. To acquire a TrailRider for your community, organization, or for personal use, email David Ostro, TrailRider Coordinator, at trailrider@disabilityfoundation.org and ensure you check out their orientation videos.

Everyone has different tools, tips, and adaptations that they do when they are going on a hike, from using walking sticks, to a preferred backpack, to visuals like maps, to tools like a compass or photos of the area. When we meet people on the trail with varying abilities it is important to remind ourselves that everyone is their own expert of their own experience. Our organizations run inclusive hikes, but we are not there to support one person’s experience, more so, we are there to hike together and enjoy our surroundings with great people using the right tools for the right experience.