The ‘Canoemobile’ Makes National Parks More Accessible to People With Disabilities


If you’re a person with or without a disability and you’d love to experience the thrill of the open water, the Canoemobile may be for you.

In celebration of the National Park Service centennial, the Canoemobile, operated by Wilderness Inquiry, will connect people with disabilities to the outdoors by getting them into canoes and out onto America’s great rivers and lakes. The Canoemobile, a fleet of 24-foot Voyager canoes, will be stopping across the country from April through October. The tour will stop at places such as Big Thicket National Preserve in Kountze, Texas; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Chesterton, Indiana; Golden Gate National Recreation Area near San Francisco, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Hagerstown, Maryland, and more.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.