Thanks to the very generous spirit of volunteerism of 19 individuals who from Nanaimo to Campbell River,  the Strathcona Wilderness Institute was able to make BC Park’s “Accessibility Day” initiative, a success for the  60, or more, participants who came with family to experience Strathcona Park’s beauty over the BC week-end.

The celebration showcased the use of 2 local trailriders which enabled British Columbian visitors with mobility challenges to access some of BC’s most spectacular back-country at Strathcona Park.  Visitors to the SWI Centre were also able to access wheelchairs for use on the 1 km Centennial Boardwalk which gives visitors access to alpine flora and views.  The walks were accompanied by naturalist interpretation of flora and fauna by SWI directors and staff, and Park superintendent, Andy Smith.

Surprisingly many visitors were not aware of SWI’s mobility access programme.  SWI has 1 trailrider which visitors can book for a service charge of $10 daily, as well as 4 wheelchairs on loan free of charge.  Interested visitors can either bring their own sherpas or arrange with SWI to contact our list of possible volunteers. The trail-rider can be in high demand as it is also used in rescue operations, in lieu of a stretcher. One of the trailriders used this week-end this came from Campbell River and the other is housed at SWI’s Mount Washington base.

Accessibility Day made evident the need  for a second trailrider at the SWI. There is therefore a need to fund-raise about $12K for a second trailrider to support this programme. All donations for this to SWI are welcome!

The SWI’s success is greatly indebted to Terry Farrell of The Record for his diligent communication with other regional newspapers, as well as the continued media support of Catherine Hedrich of and Danny Zanbilowicz of The Word, for their generous support.

SWI also runs a number of hiking, citizen science and educational programmes. Anyone interested in Strathcona Wilderness Institute activities can also contact us at the website, or Loys Maingon at 250 331 0143.


Loys Maingon

Strathcona Wilderness Institute