Prince Rupert’s beautiful trails will become available to those with mobility challenges thanks to a new program designed to help them have more access to the outdoors.
On April 21, the Kaien Coastal Riders, in partnership with the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society, launched Prince Rupert’s first adaptive hiking program.
The program makes use of a TrailRider, a machine that enables safe transportation of individuals with unique mobility restrictions over rough and uneven terrain, and is suitable for use off-road and on trails.
“If they want to go see the public dock, go on the waterfront, go on Rushbrook Trail when it opens, Butze or visit Diana Lake, that’s what we’re really geared toward,” said Jessie Gibson, a founder of Kaien Coastal Riders and one of the event organizers. “It’s what the riders want, where they want to go and who they want to go with.”
The program has been a project Gibson and Morgan Foisy have been working on for a little more than a year. Foisy — a rehabilitation assistant in Prince Rupert — began fundraising for the project in 2017 after seeing a need for it in Prince Rupert. In the time since, the two have worked on bringing a TrailRider to the city in addition to securing the funding to make sure it is properly insured and finding partners in the community to manage it.
Now that the project has become a reality, those with unique mobility needs will have the ability to go to places they had once thought would not be possible. 72-year-old Mike Shook has had issues with his ankles and joints, and struggles to walk on uneven footing. He was present with his wife Sue Neilson who said they were excited about the prospect of being able to visit trails together in the future.
“When I mentioned Butze his face just lit up,” Neilson said.