Presenter Questions & Answers

Below you will find any remaining questions from the attendee Q&A, answered by our presenters!

Lawrence Gunther

Jamie McCulloch

Shira Standfield

Q1 for Lawrence Gunther: How much would it cost to go to your camp? I am interested in going there as I started losing vision in grade 4 and it’s been a while since I have been to Quebec. I am not blind, but seeing at night is a struggle for me.

Lawrence Gunther: We are in the design and development stage right now and hope to be in a position to receive our first guests next summer 2024. The best way to follow us is to visit the below website and sign up to our biweekly newsletter:

Q2 for Jamie McCulloch: On the trail rating idea – has Jamie or anyone seen the equivalent to a mountain bike skills park for adaptive equipment? Or has anyone seen an adaptive bike skills park where they could bring a trail rider or hand cycle? It would be amazing to have a place where people could build skills and confidence on terrain just like mountain bikers can.

Jamie McCulloch: This is definitely an area of improvement across the nation and I do not have any set examples of good standards in this area.  There is also a challenge in regards to the amount of variables that are at play when we look at type of adaptive equipment, the unique environment of the park where the equipment will be used, the experience of the user and any supporting people that may be assisting, and most importantly the uniqueness of the individual that would be using the equipment, their goals, mobility etc etc.  We (Rocky Mountain Adaptive) have developed over time, a trail usage for our programming area, different equipment, and activities, where we consider all the prior complexities mentioned and then recommend suitable trails to the equipment user. Some other examples of successes and developments in this area would be Kootenay Adaptive and some areas in British Columbia that are developing trail scales for adaptive mountain bikes.

Q3 for Jamie McCulloch: I’d welcome any suggestions on good models of wheelchairs that folks in this group are using in park settings for customer check-out in parks. We are looking for chairs that are durable and ideally adjustable to fit a variety of patron sizes. Also looking for chairs that can roll over natural surfaces (gravel, dirt paths, small roots, etc.) rather than smooth, interior floor-type surfaces.

Jamie McCulloch: We are lucky at this time that there seem to be more and more advancements in adaptive recreation equipment design across a wide range of outdoor sports. In relation to the different types of wheelchair type equipment for accessing parks or equipment that wheelchair users could use to access parks include the following: Trailrider, Not a wheelchair, Bowhead (RX, Reach, Rouge), Mountain Trike, Joëlette, FreeWheel.

Q4 for Shira Standfield: Presumably, accessible sites are most needed by people with mobility impairments. Could a question be asked for those booking an accessible site as to the mobility device they use? (wheelchair, walker, etc.) 

Shira Standfield: At Parks Canada, we don’t ask people details about their disability or their mobility equipment when they book an accessible site. They are, however, asked to check a box acknowledging the following:  

“Accessible campsites are provided to accommodate customers with mobility impairments. To occupy the site, at least one member of the party must have a mobility impairment. If, on arrival, you do not qualify to occupy this site, there may be no alternate sites available. If you are unsure, please contact park staff before reserving.”

Some people may not be using a mobility device but do have a mobility impairment and need to be close to a washroom. There are people with invisible disabilities such as chronic pain etc. that may not be using a mobility device, while there are others who may be using a wheelchair, but don’t necessarily need to be right next to a washroom. So the presence or absence of a mobility device doesn’t necessarily indicate the need for the site. It is of course a tricky situation as the intention is for the sites to be available for those who need them while minimizing the use of these sites by those who don’t. Parks Canada staff aren’t in a position to question people about their disability, whether permanent or temporary, so we rely on education and trust to ensure the sites are being used properly. We have been looking into how other parks agencies handle this question and many struggle between being overly restrictive or overly permissive. It’s a delicate and tricky issue to resolve.

Q5 for Shira Standfield: Do you know of any current training out there for park staff in terms of accessibility, in the midst of [or in relation to] natural disasters, such as flooding and wildfires? 

Shira Standfield: I am not aware of “accessibility” training specifically related to natural disasters.