KAMLOOPS — For many people living in B.C.'s Interior hiking is a favourite pastime. But, for some, mobility issues can complicate or even prevent a trip to the trails.
"A lot of trails will have just one step, you know where people step up six inches with a little board there. Well, that's the end of the trail for me," Glenn Dreger said. "Physically I'm not very strong so I can't open gates anymore."
Dreger is a member of both the Kamloops Fish and Game Club and the Kamloops Naturalist Club.
He loves to get outdoors and photograph birds. Due to an autoimmune disease, however, he can no longer hike on foot.
But, accessibility upgrades to the Isobel Lake Interpretive Trail north of Kamloops have made it easier to enjoy his hobby.
"Being able to get out and have a distance where you can travel, that's not on a road is something that I'll appreciate," Dreger said.
After five years of trail building, 1,500 volunteer hours, and more than $80,000 in grant money the Kamloops Thompson Trails Alliance officially opened the three kilometre low mobility trail Friday.
"It permits anyone who has challenges with mobility, from needing to sit down more frequently, or needing to use ... pit toilets, and use the rest benches, as well as picnic tables," Kamloops Thompson Trails Alliance President Richard Doucette said. "They're all modified in a way to allow someone in a wheel chair, or someone with lower mobility needs, to use it."
The Isobel Lake Interpretive Trail was first established as a low mobility trail in the 1990s, but it didn't go all the way around the lake, and accessibility standards have changed.
People in Motion played a role in planning the original trail, and was brought back to help with the upgrades.
"A little piece of what People in Motion did with this project is we had our members in power chairs that came up," said Director of Education and Programs Kari Rubel. "We took measurements of the width of the trails, the widths of the pathways, the widths of the bridges, and the leveling for the accessibility on the bridge around the corner. People in Motion had a pretty good impact on that, and to have our people a part of that is even more special."
Isobel Lake is frequented by campers, boater, students, and is a youth and disabled fishery. The trail is one of only a handful of semi-wilderness accessible trails in B.C.
"I regret the fact that I wasn't able to help build these trails," Dreger said, "however I'll take advantage of them."
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