Access Challenge seeks volunteers and supporters 

People are encouraged to come to the House Rock site in the Whistler Interpretive Forest between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Aug. 21 to cheer on the participants of the Access Challenge who will cross the Cheakamus River by zip-line.

The Access Challenge is a three-day adventure expedition partnering able-bodied individuals and people with disabilities in teams to trek through the wilderness.

"In the backcountry, common needs outweigh physical differences and everyone has to work together to achieve a common goal," said Access Challenge program manager Susann Olovson.

One disabled person is escorted by four able-bodied teammates through the backcountry in a "Trailrider," a lightweight and environmentally friendly wheelchair.

The Trailrider is designed for hiking on all mountain terrain and resembles a wheelbarrow.

The idea behind the Access Challenge is that it is part adventure, part competition and part education.

All teams participating in the Access Challenge will be judged on a set of criteria that includes creative camp cooking, local flora and fauna knowledge, map reading and solving navigational challenges.

Teams must follow a designated route and use navigational tools provided and are required to practice "no trace" camping with minimal impact on the environment.

This year there are six teams and approximately 15 volunteers that will travel and camp together through Garibaldi Provincial Park until they reach the spectacular view from the top of Black Tusk. They will then start the journey down to the Cheakamus River.

Volunteers are still need for the final day of the Access Challenge between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 21 at House Rock. If you are interested in volunteering, e-mail: efratgaor@yahoo.ca, or call 604-688-6464.

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