Too often, we take our good health and mobility for granted. We assume that we will always be able to hike up a trail or bike along a pathway.
For outdoor enthusiasts who are physically impaired, there may seem to be few recreation locations. But more opportunities become available every day as government agencies and special-interest groups build new facilities, or modify old ones, to accommodate disabled persons. The basic concept is to reduce physical barriers.
Here are a few locations that are often overlooked:
Trout Unlimited’s Friends Landing is a 152-acre site located on the banks of the Chehalis River near Montesano. There is a 32-acre lake. It was specifically constructed to accommodate persons with disabilities. The boat ramp is designed to allow wheelchair users to launch and recover their boats. The landing has a wheelchairaccessible dock and boats that can accommodate a wheelchair. Two fishing enclosures are located on the river bank. There also is a sheltered picnic site. (360) 533-4453 or (360) 328- 3732.
Scooteney Park is located on Scooteney Reservoir, about 11 miles south of Othello. There are 37 campsites (no RV hookups) with paved parking. The two docks and fishing ramps are handicap-accessible. (509) 234-0527.
Kananaskis Country, Alberta
The Mount Lorette Ponds are located near Kananaskis Village. The parking area, pathways around the ponds, and shoreline fishing sites are paved and wheelchair accessible. The pond is stocked periodically with trout. (403) 297-3362.
William Watson Lodge is located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Its facilities were specifically designed to accommodate people with disabilities. Both overnight guests or day visitors are welcomed. Even the vehicle and tent sites are equipped for the disabled visitor. All nature trails are barrier-free. (403) 591-7227.
Boulder Cave National Recreation Area
The Boulder Cave National Recreation Area is located off highway 410, about 22 miles north of the junction of highways 410 and 12. The recreation area has a barrier-free trail bordering the Naches River. There are paved fishing sites along the bank. Boulder Cave campground is located nearby for overnight camping. (509) 653-2205.
Glacier Country, Mont.
The Glacier Park-Northwest Montana Accessibility Guide is published by a nonprofit agency, Disabled Recreation and Environmental Access Movement (DREAM). The guide contains accessibility information on businesses, recreation opportunities and annual events. The free guide is available by calling DREAM, (406) 758-5411.
Lewiston Levee Parkway
The Lewiston Levee Parkway was built and landscaped by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along Lower Granite Lake, which was formed by the construction of the Lower Granite Lock and Dam. The 16-mile trail connects Idaho and Washington parks, historic sites and natural attractions along the corridor of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. The Levee Parkway has several ponds, which attract many waterfowl species. All facilities along the parkway are handicap-accessible. (208) 743-3531.
Gresham’s Springwater Trail Corridor uses the abandoned railway bed of the Springwater Division Line, which was an interurban electric railway that carried passengers and freight from Portland to Estacada, Ore.
Some of the paved trail parallels the 26-mile-long Johnson Creek, which is home to dozens of species of wildlife and provides excellent viewing and photographing opportunities. A map and brochure is available, which features the various attractions along the trail. There are several paved parking lots and access points along the trail, all having wheelchair accessible ramps. (503) 669-2531.