What's on our mind this issue..... by Yvonne Dean

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I hope you will enjoy this online version of Women's Outdoor World which resulted as a way to cope with several issues. The first was a result of companies being at the end of their advertising budget at year-end. It takes advertising dollars to pay the print bill so, if you like being able to find your copy of Women's Outdoor World, tell the business where you found it how much you like us!

The second issue we had to cope with was the result of my latest (mis)adventure which you can read about here. I have a whole new respect for those who have to deal with life from a wheelchair on a regular basis. How quickly the things we take for granted slip out of our reach, quite literally. A simple errand, like going to the grocery store, becomes a major outing and requires careful planning with the help of my patient husband. Items on the top shelf are now out of reach and you depend on the generosity of friends, family, or in some cases, total strangers.

Accessibility to businesses becomes a major obstacle as you deal with opening heavy doors and try to wedge your way through before it slams shut on you. The buttons that open doors automatically are a godsend - when they function properly and that one step at the threshold is now a barrier that prevents you entering your favourite restaurant. I was amazed at the condition of our sidewalks, which I now see as rough, canted and with not nearly enough accessibilty ramps. Independence flees as you now cope with obstacles that you didn't even think about a few short days ago.

You either learn to cope or you dissolve in a puddle of frustration, and I've done both. I've discovered that a cane is a useful tool to hook items to bring them within reach and to open and close the windows. My favourite find was a divided bottle bag I brought home from a local winery (I knew that habit would come in handy at some point!). It keeps my water bottle upright and is a great place to store the cell phone, home phone, pens, etc., each in their own compartment and not buried under a multitude of other items. My laptop is my new best friend since I can't get the wheelchair through the narrow door into the computer room - yet another frustration.

During research to see what was available in outdoor recreation to those who are disabled, I discovered that Williams Lake in the Cariboo has won the Accessibilty Award of Merit which is kind of ironic considering that's where I became acquainted first-hand with mobility issues. The Cariboo in general has been very pro-active in this regard and you can read more about the great work done to improve accessibilty to a number of trails and attractions at:
http://www.measureupthenorth.com/News_Dates_Events.aspx

Many of the National and Provincial Parks are wheelchair accessible. Those listed below are just a few and you can go online to find out which suits you best. I'm sure many of you have already discovered many of these but in case you haven't, here are some of the programs, trails and sites that may be of interest if you have mobility issues or know someone that does.

Yoho National Park of Canada
Wheelchair accessible washrooms are available at each campground.
Chancellor CampgroundHoodoo Creek Day Use Area
Campground
Kicking Horse Campground
Monarch Campground
Takakkaw Falls (walk-in) Campground

http://www.bcparks.ca/

BC Parks Annual Parking Passes
Disabled may be able to camp and park of free by filling out the proper forms.

MacMillan Provincial Park (Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island)

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Golden Ears Provincial Park
Spirea Trail is a pleasant wheelchair-accessible walk offering wide pathways, long boardwalks, and low grade slopes.

Belcarra Park
Belcarra Picnic Area, the sheltered picnic tables are wheelchair accessible. White Pine Beach has a wheelchair accessible path, picnic tables and beach access (although no direct wheelchair access to the water). All park washroom buildings are wheelchair accessible. There is ramp access to the fishing/boating dock at Belcarra Picnic Area, however at moderate to low tides, the slope may be too steep for disabled access.
Springboard Trail is 4 km long and is primarily a bicycle path, but the chip seal hardened surface is partially wheelchair accessible. There are some steep, switchback sections west of Woodhaven Swamp that would be very challenging for a wheelchair user.

Strathcona Provincial Park
The Paradise Meadows trailhead is located by Raven Lodge (1100m elevation) where you will find the wheelchair accessible boardwalk through alpine meadows and, for the more adventurous, multi-day trekking routes.

Fishing at Elk Lake
B.C.'s premier trophy smallmouth spot. There's a public boat launch on the northwest side, as well as a public wheelchair-accessible dock just south of the launch.
Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, (250) 478-3344;
crd.bc.ca/parks

Province of BC programs

Ministry of the Environment, Fish and Wildlife Branch
BC Residents with a severe and permanent physical or mental disability may obtain an annual Non-Tidal Angling Licence at a reduced fee. (Note: Licences are not required for anglers under 16 years of age.) To apply for the program, please contact your local Service BC Centre. Applications may be downloaded from the ministry website.

The Disabled Sailing Association
Disabled (adaptive) sailing is accessible and inclusive and promotes freedom and independence. Even people with no movement below the neck, with the use of 'sip n' puff' technology, can sail safely and independently. DSA-BC operates eight specially designed Martin 16 sailboats, for people aged 8 and up.Email:
dsa@disabilityfoundation.org

The Vancouver Art Gallery

The
Museum of Anthropology at UBC

Summer Sports Festival by Vancouver Parks Board. A variety of activities – canoeing, kayaking, adapted waterskiing, dragon boating, outrigger paddling, trailriding, sailing and golf – specifically adapted for the needs of the disabled are arranged throughout the summer. Stanley Park, Kitsilano Beach, Pacific Spirit Park and many more city parks are accessible via transit but also provide wheelchair- and scooter-friendly locations.Outdoor pools at Kitsilano Beach and Second Beach in Stanley Park both provide ramp access to the water and are great locations to get some exercise or people watch.

Robert Burnaby Outdoor Pool, Burnaby, B.C.

The Power House at Stave Falls

Sections of the Sunshine Coast Trail

Mosquito Creek Trail
Fell Avenue and West 17th Street in North Vancouver.The trail is dog-friendly and, in the lower part, wheelchair accessible.

Panorama Park
Panorama Park has a paved, half-kilometre waterfront walkway with views of the southern end of Indian Arm. It is dog-friendly, and has easy access for those with disabilities. Take Mt. Seymour Parkway east from the Trans Canada Highway to Deep Cove, about 6.5 kilometres from the highway.

Tatlayoko Lake, Cariboo-Chilcotin

Hatley Park National Historic Site (One of my favourite places in BC!)
http://www.royalroads.ca/Channels/a...
Royal Roads University campus

Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society
The Adaptive Recreation Program an adventure based therapy and recreation program which provides adaptable equipment so people with disabilities can enjoy and connect to nature. Activities include: kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, gardening, camping and environmental stewardship.

Victoria Whale Watching Adventures - Orca Spirit

Find a concise list of programs available at:
http://www.canbc.org/adaptive_sports_guide_alphabetical.htm