Unique Website Connects People with Disabilities with Outdoor Adventures
Finding ways for people with disabilities to enjoy the great outdoors in Northern California just got a whole lot easier with the launch of the new Bay Area Outreach and Recreational Program's (BORP) website, Access Northern California. This web-based guide provides detailed accessibility information on more than 100 entries under the headings, "Explore," "Play" and "Sleep" and includes trails, parks, adapted outdoor adventure programs and various lodging options such as yurts, cabins and hostels.
One Accessible Size Does Not Fit All
People with accessibility needs, unlike those without them, don't typically have the luxury to spontaneously go for a hike or take an overnight adventure. They need accessibility information in advance of their trip to make sure that they will not encounter barriers. When a website simply claims that a trail or cabin is "accessible," it leaves the user wondering what criteria was used to make that determination, says web guide creator Bonnie Lewkowicz, because 'one size access' does not fit all. To Lewkowicz, when she sees something identified as accessible it merely serves as a green light to investigate further to get more detailed information; most often there isn't any.
The Access Northern California web guide is a real game-changer because every entry has a host of specific access details such as trail surface, trail width, accessible parking and restroom features and bed height and doorway width for lodging entries. The places listed are not rated for accessibility rather in-depth access information that was collected through site visits by wheelchair users will enable people with disabilities to determine if a site meets their particular accessibility needs. This unique website will spare people with disabilities from countless hours of often futile research trying to locate an accessible trail, park or place to stay and instead leave them with more time to enjoy the outdoors.
Not only is the access information useful for people in wheelchairs but also for parents pushing strollers, individuals recovering from surgery, people who use canes or walkers, and those with limited mobility—all will find the web guide helpful.
Bonnie Lewkowicz, who sustained a spinal cord injury due to an ATV accident when she was 15, started Access Northern California (ANC) in 1998. An avid outdoor adventurer, she found the lack of information about accessible trails frustrating and began researching and sharing information on her website. She enlisted friends to help her explore and write reviews. Her vision to develop the premiere website for finding accessible outdoor adventures in Northern CA led her to partner with Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) in 2017. More information can be found at http://www.accessnca.org.
The Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to improve the health, independence and social integration of people with physical disabilities through sports, fitness and recreation programs. BORP believes that sports and recreation provide a path to greater achievement to which all people should have access. Contact them directly at (510) 849-4663 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.borp.org.
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