The goal of the Push to Nature initiative is to increase opportunities and invite the full participation of all Albertans in parks. Many Albertans face some sort of barrier to active living. Every Albertan will be affected by disability in their life due to injury, aging or as a caregiver to a loved one. Push to Open Nature aims to increase environmental and recreational opportunities for people of all abilities.
To support all visitors in connecting with nature, we have partnered with CNIB (the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) to provide a more inclusive trail experience for all visitors. BlindSquare is an accessible navigation system that uses physical beacons and GPS data to communicate detailed points of interest and provide directions for safe, reliable travel in both indoor and outdoor environments.
This exciting project is rolling out in select parks and can direct and notify users of the various site features, scenery, interpretive signage and trail surface changes. Learn how to use the app on the BlindSquare website. Download the BlindSquare Event app for free on Apple IOS.
The Cecile Buhl One-Kilometre Experience in Alberta Parks:
The Cecile Buhl One-Kilometre Experience is meant to connect park users with facilities that offer visitors with disabilities visitors a chance to experience some of Alberta’s parks. The experience itself varies, based on the appeal and constraints of each locale. The One-Kilometre Experience is not necessarily a continuous loop of trail but incorporates at least one accessible washroom and accessible parking. Accessibility audits were performed in summer 2016 to support facilities being designed and constructed to consider everyone’s needs. Construction based on the outcome of the audits will be completed from 2017-2020.
For nearly a decade, Cecile Buhl volunteered her time as a Push-to-Open Nature Ambassador, and contributed her life experiences to some of the audits completed throughout Alberta’s parks. Sadly, Cecile passed away in November 2016. To honor her selfless contribution, Alberta Parks has named the One-Kilometre Experience in Cecile’s memory. A trail in Fish Creek Provincial Park is being named to recognize Cecile’s passion for life, and her willingness to take risks, try new things, and lead the way for Alberta Parks' approach to offering accessible opportunities throughout the province.
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Nature has no building codes. We must work to ensure that people of all abilities can participate in nature-based experiences and outdoor recreation. We are trying to remove barriers in new and existing facilities, as well as in programs and daily operations.
The use of adaptive equipment such as Park Explorers, TrailRiders, sit-skis and outrigger kayaks provides access without impacting wilderness. We develop and support programs that modify the user, not the environment. Adaptive nature challenges require tremendous teamwork and enthusiasm from committed volunteers and participants.
Report accessibility problems you encounter in a provincial park. Submit ideas for places and experiences that should be made more accessible. We'd also love to hear about exceptional places or people in Alberta's parks that provide truly inclusive experiences. Please send your feedback, stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner with us. If your organization wants to help push to open nature, we can do it together. Email email@example.com.