For over a quarter century, SPLORE has been a leader in providing accessible outdoor adventures to individuals with special needs and disabilities. SPLORE was originally incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1979. The SPLORE story, however, began three years earlier with SPLORE’s founder, Martha Ham. In 1976, Martha was working on her thesis in therapeutic recreation and wanted to change the way people with developmental disabilities coped with the social environment. Her first challenge was to find an outfitter willing to work with people with disabilities. After considerable searching, Ken Sleight Expeditions agreed to sponsor a trip in 1977 that took a group of cognitively impaired individuals river rafting. The first trip was a success and SPLORE was born.
Many people love to experience the magic of the outdoors while rafting, canoeing, skiing, snowshoeing, or rock climbing. Unfortunately, these activities are often unavailable for people with disabilities. SPLORE is able to help by providing a fun and safe environment in which people with disabilities and special needs can experience the outdoors. SPLORE participants are able to participate in activities they once loved before having an accident or disability. One SPLORE participant stated, “I loved to camp, but when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I thought I would never be able to camp again. Thanks to SPLORE, Multiple Sclerosis no longer means the end of outdoor activities.”
The magic of SPLORE is not just in the activities; it’s in the self-confidence that the participants gain. One participant called it a “natural medicine” and explained, “I hate taking medicine. I am a firm believer that if you feel good about yourself your health will be better than if you don’t. SPLORE river trips make me feel good about myself.” Another participant stated, “I challenged myself and grew in confidence.”
Another part of the magic of SPLORE is the people involved in programs and the great friendships that are formed. Participants, friends, family, care providers, and volunteers all develop meaningful relationships as they work and play together. Although SPLORE is an organization that focuses on serving people with disabilities and special needs, it is really a program for everyone that wants to get involved.
This summer, SPLORE is offering a variety of outdoor activities available for BIAU members, friends and family. The rafting program begins May 15th and runs through mid September with single and multi day trips available. A Westwater Canyon trip offer thrill seekers the rush of whitewater rapids, waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and historic sites dating back hundreds of years. Or consider the Fisher Towers section, which is perfectly designed for the beginner or immediate rafter with gorgeous red rock scenery all along the way.
In addition to rafting, SPLORE also offers half day rock climbing and canoeing lessons conveniently located along the Wasatch Front throughout the summer. SPLORE’s rock climbing lessons occur in various sites in the Cottonwood Canyons near Salt Lake City, Utah. Canoeing lessons occur in a beautiful section of the Jordan River or in a local reservoir. For individuals seeking a truly unique canoeing adventure, SPLORE also offers a 4-day stunningly scenic oar through Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River.
All lessons and trips include equipment, trained instructors, environmental education, friendly volunteers and meals for overnight excursions.
For program schedules, contact information, or more information about SPLORE, please visit our website http://www.splore.org or phone our office at (801) 484-4128.