The 'Canoemobile' Makes National Parks More Accessible to People With Disabilities

If you’re a person with or without a disability and you’d love to experience the thrill of the open water, the Canoemobile may be for you.

In celebration of the National Park Service centennial, the Canoemobile, operated by Wilderness Inquiry, will connect people with disabilities to the outdoors by getting them into canoes and out onto America’s great rivers and lakes. The Canoemobile, a fleet of 24-foot Voyager canoes, will be stopping across the country from April through October. The tour will stop at places such as Big Thicket National Preserve in Kountze, Texas; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Chesterton, Indiana; Golden Gate National Recreation Area near San Francisco, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Hagerstown, Maryland, and more.

A person with a disability gets into a canoe

People of all abilities are welcome on Wilderness Inquiry’s fully integrated trips. They provide adapted seat pads, paddling equipment and other accommodations for people with physical disabilities. They can accommodate people who are blind or have low vision, and people with deafness or hearing loss. They also offer experiences geared towards people with intellectual disabilities to facilitate development of outdoor skills.

The Canoemobile tour is sponsored by travel and outdoor lifestyle apparel brand Toad&Co, whose sponsorship will send 1,000 adults with disabilities to 10 national parks in 2016. The grant serves as a launch pad to create access and inspire a connection to the outdoors. All adults with disabilities who participate in the Toad&Co sponsored Canoemobile tour stops will be encouraged to apply for a free National Park Service lifetime access pass granting admission to more than 2,000 recreational sites across the country.

“The centennial celebration is about introducing America’s incredible national parks to everyone, and we couldn’t be more proud to partner with Toad&Co and Wilderness Inquiry to inspire people with disabilities to find their park,” Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants and programs at the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, said in a press release. “Our National Park System has something for everyone, and we are excited to help people discover accessible experiences that speak to their personal interests and passions.”

For more information or to sign up for an event near you, visit the Canoemobile website.

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