State of North Carolina

06/18/2024 | Press release | Archived content

N.C. State Parks Partners with Waypoint Adventure to Provide Adaptive Recreation Programs at Select Parks

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

N.C. State Parks Partners with Waypoint Adventure to Provide Adaptive Recreation Programs at Select Parks

RALEIGH
Jun 18, 2024
The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation announced a new partnership with Waypoint Adventure, based in Black Mountain, N.C., to provide adaptive recreation programs for visitors with disabilities. Recreation activities such as accessible kayaking and guided hikes will be offered at a few western state parks this summer and fall as a pilot program.

"We are eager to launch this program to offer a new way for visitors with disabilities to experience and enjoy North Carolina's beautiful state parks," said State Parks Director Brian Strong. "This is an important step for us in reaching an underserved population in North Carolina and connecting them with the outdoors. We are excited for the turnout and the possibility of offering more adaptive programs and accessible facilities in the future."

The first series of programs, accessible kayaking, will be offered at Lake James and Lake Norman state parks in July and August. Registration is required for all programs. Kayaking programs are now open for registration and seeking participants and volunteers. Guided hikes will be offered in the fall, with registration opening in late summer.

The registration process asks about each participant's unique circumstances so Waypoint staff can tailor the program to each one's individual needs. All equipment is provided. There is a registration fee of $20 per participant. Waypoint offers scholarship accommodations to participants who need financial assistance.

Waypoint also offered training for state parks staff in providing accessible educational programs to individuals with different types of disabilities, allowing them to assist during the programs.

Waypoint Adventure began in Boston and expanded to western North Carolina in 2023. Waypoint has a similar partnership with Massachusetts State Parks that offers experiential and adventure-based education programs to those with disabilities. Per the U.S. Census, about one in four Americans have some kind of disability. A 2021 estimate from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that number to be over 2.4 million individuals in North Carolina.

"We are honored for this partnership with the division," said Adam Combs, Waypoint Adventure NC director. "We have seen the impact that Waypoint Adventure has had on individuals with disabilities, their families, and communities, and we are thrilled to provide these unique programs to North Carolina state parks."

In addition to Lake James and Lake Norman, Crowders Mountain and Chimney Rock State Parks will also host the pilot programs. Chimney Rock State Park has already offered accessible guided hikes for National Trails Day and National Get Outdoors Day, through a separate partnership arranged with Chimney Rock Management, which handles most programming at the Chimney Rock attraction.

Participants and volunteers can sign up at ncparks.gov/waypoint.

About Waypoint Adventure
Waypoint Adventure is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to providing inclusive outdoor adventure programs for individuals with disabilities. Since its inception, Waypoint Adventure has been committed to empowering participants to overcome obstacles, build self-confidence, and develop lifelong skills through a range of activities such as hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and more.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 262,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina's state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina - its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.dncr.nc.gov.

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Kris Anne Bonifacio
(919) 707-9369