A fleet of 24-foot Voyageur canoes and a new program this summer will give disabled adults free access to wilderness areas and National Parks.
Wilderness Inquiry and the National Park Foundation, thanks to a grant from Toad&Co., is providing 1,000 persons with disabilities the opportunity to experience parks, lakes, and rivers, including Lake George in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay, and River Raisin in Detroit, to name a few.
In total, the initiative will send participants to 10 national parks across the country and make 50 stops over six months. It’s all a part of Wilderness Inquiry’s “Canoemobile” program, which is based around a decked-out cargo van towing the aforementioned fleet of 24-foot Voyageur canoes.
The exact amount of the grant was not made available. But sponsor Toad&Co. notes the project is a celebration of this year’s National Park Service centennial.
The tour, which launches next week (April 4, 2016) and runs through October, will provide access to parks and natural spots and help further Wilderness Inquiry’s mission of building programs that “provide opportunities for urban youth, families, and people with disabilities to discover and share the many benefits of outdoor experiences.”
Destinations include Big Thicket National Reserve in Texas, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and dozens more.
“For a multitude of reasons, adults with disabilities are often precluded from outdoor activities,” notes Gordon Seabury, Toad&Co founder. “This grant to the National Park Foundation aims to change that.”
Toad&Co. also provides opportunities for persons with disabilities as a priority of its business model.
All of the company’s merchandise is picked and packed by persons with disabilities through a partnership with Planet Access Company, a life skills and training warehouse and distribution center co-founded by Toad&Co.
We are excited to see these organizations embrace a disproportionately under-represented community within our National Parks.
Anyone interested in participating in an upcoming Canoemobile stop should visit the program page.