One of Strathcona Wilderness Institute’s directors, Brenda, who is also a regular volunteer at the Wilderness Centre, sent some great news stories about activities at Paradise Meadows this week.
“I just thought I would share a few stories that happened yesterday that you would appreciate hearing about. Yesterday was a great day and a very busy one! Gerald, (another volunteer) and I were ‘on our feet most of the day’. Towards the end of the day, a young man (a paraplegic in his 30’s) and his Dad from Nanaimo came to speak with me and wanted me to thank all of the directors (especially Judy) for having the foresight of making a trail wheelchair accessible. He was quite emotional when he spoke with me saying that he had been an avid hiker before his accident a few years ago. He said this was the first time he had been to Strathcona Park since the accident and this experience has given him a renewed sense of hope that he might be able to enjoy hiking in a different way. I was speaking to him about perhaps our group getting a Trailrider for people with mobility issues. I hope you don’t mind Judy that I shared with him your recent experiences hiking to Lake Helen Mackenzie!
Also, there was a small group of special needs adults who had just completed the Centennial Loop and their group leader. The adults were ‘laughing in delight’ and the group leader shared that this was one of their best field trips. And I happened to be there when forty 14-year-olds from Gabriola Island had just come back from a two day hike & campout. I spoke to the leaders and some of the kids, some of them said ‘this was the best experience of my life!’
I wanted to share these stories with you because it is days like this that makes it worthwhile to be part of the Strathcona Wilderness team and to let you know that we are all making a positive impact on people who visit the park!”
Many partners including BC Parks & Rotary Clubs were responsible for the accessibility of the Centennial Trail. The full story behind the construction of the 2 km long Centennial Loop, accessible by any kind of mobility device, is here.