“Outdoor Access for All” reads the side of the Canoemobile van pulling into the boathouse at Lake Merced in San Francisco. Wilderness Inquiry’s mission to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world is being fulfilled throughout California this spring. Anyone, anywhere, anytime–and we mean it!
After Canoemobile’s first stop in Santa Barbara, the team of seven outdoor leaders continued up the west coast to San Francisco to kick off a week of activity with Sunday Funday at Lake Merced. The great folks at San Francisco Recreation & Park facilitated rock climbing on their mobile climbing wall and Wilderness Inquiry offered free canoe rides for the hundreds in attendance.
The week continued with students from AccessSFUSD, a community-based transition program for young adults with disabilities run through San Francisco Unified School District. Students paddled with National Park Service rangers and learned about accessible outdoor recreation and employment opportunities in the Bay Area.
Our time in the Bay Area was packed with activity: free public canoe rides at McNab Lake, students racing along the Dragon Boaters at Lake Merced, paddling with folks of diverse abilities in Berkeley Aquatic Park. By week’s end, more than 500 youth and adults had the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature close to home.
After the final day, WI outdoor leader Sam Teragawa shared, “Today was one of my all-time favorite days. The turnout was amazing. There was a woman in a wheelchair who didn’t think it would be remotely possible for us to transfer her into a canoe. After Jordan and I completed the transfer her husband James was brought to tears. It was an extremely powerful experience for all of us.”