Do you like nature and are you disabled?

Story from USA TODAY

Hiking hasn't always been accessible to all, but these groups are opening up the outdoors.

The article by Eve Chen and Morgan Hines mentions many different kinds of great people and organisations helping others enjoy nature.

One of them is Disabled Hikers.

Syren Nagakyrie, founder and director of Disabled Hikers, works to make outdoor spaces truly accessible for all. 


"There's no right or wrong way to be outdoors," said Syren Nagakyrie, founder of Disabled Hikers, which aims to build community and justice for "disabled and other marginalized outdoors people."

There are however challenges for people with disabilities.

"A lot of trails, particularly when they're marked easy or even if they are listed as wheelchair accessible, they may not be," said Nagakyrie, who uses the pronouns they and them. "Perhaps they were originally designed to be accessible, but over time there's damage shifting things, like large cracks or places where roots have raised the surface."

Surface conditions can pose problems even without a wheelchair. How rocky, slick, or steep a trail is directly impacts its difficultly. Another important factor is how much effort is needed for various trails, particularly for people with invisible disabilities and limited energy, like Nagakyrie.

"I tend to move very slowly and awkwardly and have to stop and rest a lot," they said. "I will often encounter people who are just trying to rush me or push up behind me or try to push me out of the way."

Hiking was the second most popular activity in 2020 for Americans with 57.8 million participants through the year, according to Outdoor Industry Association's 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report.

Disabled Hikers, which was created by and for people with disabilities, provides the kinds of useful details needed to make hiking accessible.

"It's entirely possible to get out there and enjoy the outdoors," Nagakyrie said. "Just do whatever you need to do to be able to enjoy it."

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