As part of our longtime social mission to provide opportunities for adults with disabilities, we gave a grant to the National Park Foundation to get 1,000 adults with disabilities into national parks this year. The Canoemobile, operated by the skillful team from Wilderness Inquiry, is currently touring the country to connect folks to their local national parks by getting them into canoes and paddling through the great American waterways. Rose Conry, one of the Canoemobile’s trusty captains, offers up the latest update:
After a great week in Dallas, TX, the Canoemobile Team rolled into Detroit, MI to get on the water at River Raisin National Battlefield. Special Olympics Michigan athletes and their families embraced the peacefulness of an overcast Sunday morning, paddling quietly along the marshy mouth of the the Huron. For many, it was their first canoe experience, and several athletes were nervous initially. The boats, 24-foot cedar-stripped voyageur canoes made the ride more unusual.
During our quiet river paddle, the Special Olympians spotted fish jumping out of the water, ospreys, cormorants, and terns diving for breakfast. Herons waded in for their next meal while swans and geese guarded their young. A ranger from the River Raisin National Battlefield shared historical and natural knowledge about the area. He explained how the U.S. came to lose Detroit in the War of 1812 and what invasive species threaten native plants and animals in the area.
As the program wrapped up, the ranger explained River Raisin’s summer kayaking program. Many participants expressed eagerness to join the park service for another paddling adventure. I want to come back for it, too.
For information on when the Canoemobile will be in your area and how to get involved, check the Canoemobile schedule!