Categories
Access and inclusion Boreal Forests British Columbia Nature

Accessible and inclusive nature parks of British Columbia

The Provincial Government has a mandate to create all new parks to fit the description of being accessible and inclusive nature parks. Perhaps you were looking for a travel blog documenting a trip through the parks in Northern BC, recently developed to be inclusive beyond the universal design of the parks to include accessibility in over 50% of the park to allow inclusive visiting. Perhaps you were looking for user information on a good accessible fishing spot in BC. In that case, this is not that post or blog site. The parks as mentioned above are lacking in transportation from any community to the park. Well, yes, you have a vehicle. One that fits your personal and perhaps unique needs, and once a blogger demonstrates the recreational venue’s accessible worth, you can and will visit. What about those who do not have that access? You most likely won’t take that person on a trip to the park, when the person wants to go. Yeah, my problem. You don’t know me beyond this website. How do I go to any of these parks, with my mobility device? I can’t use the expensive fishing gear I own… Perhaps that’s you too. Another challenge just arrived in my mind. How do we get back home, if a ride there is secured?

A trail marker indicating access standards of the trail through a park. This sign tells us there are diverse standards in the park, likely identified with unique markers in spots more challenging.

We have a few of those parks within our region in Northern British Columbia. The Ancient Forest, the Great West Life Mobility Trail. There’s a few more in the works, BC Parks has way more information on these parks. Yes they need donations to keep improving. Inclusion is a goal that is sustainable. It includes you, among the collective of humans living. It even includes me, with you. But you still won’t take me in your private vehicle. That means to travel is not a shared inclusive space, except to your personal needs. No mention of the time involved between park and starting point and to leave to return, when needed. It’s not just parkland and developed fishing holes, in nature. Public tourism venues such as Hubbell Homestead, Barkerville, and more scattered across the province were made with access in the design. Still no way for those living a pedestrian life, or most in the cycle world on bikes to access. A walk or roll in nature, for anyone, is more beneficial than a team of therapists

An accessible trail only has to be smooth and packed tight. Avoid loose gravel on the paths. A very mentally stabilizing stroll and roll through a park

Recently the BC Government (BC Transit) took over the accessible point-to-point, provincial transportation system called HandyDART. It only covers within a community’s boundary. The model of community support only allows community members, who must be registered, to access in town locations. In Prince George, where it started with the Carefree Transportation Society, they are looking for a new direction to travel. They formerly managed the HandyDART fleet in Prince George, since before it started over 50 years ago. While that happened, and BC Transit transited the switch in leadership, the established society discussed closure and how that would look. That was not in the plans. They looked for niches to fill next, in local inclusive travel. That was the direction they wanted to travel, keeping transportation, accessibility and inclusion in the vision. There are a few. They discussed the lack of ‘inclusive’ travel to these parks and more, looking for a new direction. Could they fill this niche in BC Parks plan to bring inclusion to these parks? Stay tuned. More to come.

Categories
British Columbia Canada Kamloops Nature Prince George

Trip 2023

It has been about 20 or more years since I traveled this highway. Even longer by bus. In 2018, the only intercity human transportation and one of the few shipping centers in Prince George shut down with little forewarning. At least it caught me unaware. Greyhound. Wasn’t too fond  of people in general, refused to comply with Transport Canada’s emerging Accessibility standards for intercity transportation of people.

Why did I not use Greyhound more? They had a route for a very long time, connecting not only Northern BC to the nation and beyond, they brought that beyond to Northern BC and beyond that way. That is a question I would ask another who spent that time apart from a family. Particularly if at a basic level, this service was available.

No excuse, I had a hard life. My Multiple Sclerosis arriving in 2000, expected to put me in a wheelchair within 5 years. Within days of diagnosis, my father died. Within two 2 years, my mental health condition was apparent and diagnosed with MS treatments, new at that time. Medical support denied me as I was using Marihuana. No vehicle. My legs decided I would lead a pedestrian life, avoiding vehicles. ‘Disabled Income. I’ll say no more.

By 5 years, I had given up my car as my right leg could not move from the gas to the brake pedal fast enough. I also quit smoking tobacco, which put me in alternative places within my community. Greyhound would not accept me as I was disabled and invalid in their minds, which is the basic reason, and I had no vehicle. My medical support accepted me back, as they could not deny me. I feel they were forced. 

I have no fond memories of Greyhound anyway, who did not mind tobacco and alcohol as long as people were on board when doors shut and wheels moving when I last rode. They left many people behind. Alcohol was still forgiven, but Canada forced tobacco out. No Cannabis allowed, but to be fair, Canada called it Marihuana, which came straight from hell. Onward to 2023. Side note: Cannabis is legal now but still can not be consumed on board.

I arrived at the stop for multiple buses running for my city. Northern BC just got away with BC Bus North, and now at 8:16 am, we wait. Soon, it’ll arrive. 8:17 now… Hurry up and wait. Well, en route now past city limits at 843 am… Ebus underway!

This would’ve shortened my trip not so long ago. Actually, it would cause adventure as I might’ve been placed between communities, awaiting the RCMP and a ride to their offices. Past is the past, Onward to Kamloops

Well, we’re all on board by 8:25, Mike does the welcome aboard speech. This Ebus is not accessible. No, it does not have a ramp. This bus has 7 stairs. I saw that it has to be requested in advance 48 hrs minimum for access. They bring a unique bus to the pickup location. Scooters always go under one bus design, and another bus can take a fair-sized power chair, untested with a scooter. Washrooms in the back. Meh. Lots better than Greyhound. Not quite as good as Northern or another Health Authority’s Connection Busses. Coincidently, A division of Ebus company manages the medical transportation I learned. There is a price difference lol.

Stops announced Williams Lk, 70 Mile House. Shouldn’t that be 112.7 Km House here in Canada? Hmmmm. Stay tuned. This ride is much smoother than Greyhound, and seatbelts are mandatory. 9:47, just entering Quesnel.

Underway, I’ll be 500 + KMs before this day is done.

Well, 1135 and the stop at Williams Lk was another memory to behold. A single bathroom satisfied my 3 hrs travel to find it, but I didn’t feel like the ‘back of the bus’ bathroom was close enough. Well, onward after Mike, the driver, does a headcount. Onward to the next stop and stretch. Time to charge and enjoy the puff. Lol, This stop by a liquor store… Iconic memories of being left here, with Greyhound… Onward.

Miles to some, kms under the wheels, moving under us. Onward!

We stopped for lunch at 112.7 km house. I’ll bring lunch on my return, just saying. A bathroom break to wash my hands, puff and consume some truck-stop-packaged something. It’s time to huff a vape puff and get on board.

The city marker was found in a city park.

My impression of Kamloops by Transit any of the modes is great. Ample wide open nature parks, accessible and ‘walknrollablable’ by City Transit. They built sidewalks for community health. All built on hills, busses struggle to climb. No wonder it’s considered the ‘City of Tournaments‘. My morning walk was a walk to the 7-11, a block by sidewalk but 20 meters above my sister’s place. Meh. A surprisingly meagre amount of benches and garbage collection areas exist on the sidewalks. But again, the city was clean along those sidewalks. I noticed very few mobility devices in use. Had I brought mine, I would’ve seen more, I imagine. I was told Tranist, HandyDART services, and private vehicles are the standard modes of Kamloops’ mobility. Walking is done mainly in those parks, so common with benches and garbage cans. People rarely walk to the park, I was told.

Peterson Creek Park affords many views 30 or 40 meters above a busy highway. Well-placed benches are along a mega km natural trail connecting some other large area parks and sporting areas.
 They donate benches as a legacy. We give thanks for the views these people enjoyed in life. There’s no litter to distract the views. Thanks as well to respectful visitors who came before me and any who picked up after those disrespectful visits.
The Highway below the park and mountain views.
 The mountains overshadow Kamloops
Another Bench
Sage grows everywhere, among the diversity of nature.
 Trail markers, so an exploration party does not get lost (easily)
That highway so far below
This deserted mall serves as Ebus HQ in Kamloops. The office to register is inside, and a restaurant, a couple of computer tech support offices exist. Most of the places are closed inside.

 As it is Aboriginal Day in Canada, while I traveled back, I respected these lands I traveled upon. I am traveling between the TKemlups and Lheidli T’enneh territories. Such beautiful territories they’ve managed since a time before time was recorded. As we travel, my thoughts are of ancient trade routes and past explorers to this part of Canada. I called PG Taxi along the road and booked a taxi for my arrival at around 830pm. Back home.

Information by WalkNRoll