West Kelowna  

'Fire In The Mountains'

The West Kelowna Professional Firefighters Local 4457 will once again be breaking down barriers for individuals with disabilities.

This spring, the firefighters will take a special few on a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness adventure during the third annual Fire in the Mountains trip.

“This year's trip is unique,” said firefighter Ryan Onyschuk. “We will be offering a multi-day paddling trip to world-famous Murtle Lake, the largest canoe-only lake in North America. Set in the pristine mountain valley of Wells Gray Provincial Park, Murtle Lake will provide us the opportunity to take more than one lucky individual this year on a four- to five-day adventure of a lifetime.”

During the two previous adventures, a few lucky individuals were able to spend three days with the firefighters hiking the Rocky Mountains in Yoho National Park and traversing the ridge lines of Cathedral Provincial Park.

“These trips are about giving people an opportunity that they otherwise wouldn’t have and providing an experience of a lifetime. You never fully realize the impact of these trips until you volunteer on one. It is an amazing feeling to see the smiles and laughs and how content someone can be out in the mountains and fresh air without concern for barriers,” says WKPF captain Nathan Pike.

Each year, the firefighters step up and make the trip possible by raising the money required to make the trips possible and providing the manpower and support personnel during the trips.

The WKPF teams up with CRIS Adaptive Adventures out of the Central Okanagan, a company that has been providing these types of excursion for individuals with disabilities for the past 15 years throughout Western Canada.

“They provide the expertise and guiding to make the trips possible and safe,” said Onyschuk.

Last year's recipient was Logan Miller, an avid outdoor adventurer who has limited access to the wilderness due to his rare form of progressive neurodegenerative disorder.

“These experiences have a much greater impact than just the participant chosen. It changes lives and gives hope for many,” says Debra Miller, Logan’s mother.

“The WKPF donation last year was truly a generous act that provided an unforgettable experience for Logan Miller and his dad. The firefighters’ donation of time and money helps people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity or means to experience such an outdoor adventure,” says CRIS Adaptive Adventures board member Eric Rampone.

“These trips have a tremendous impact on a participant’s life, helping to improve mental and physical health, while breaking down social and physical barriers and promoting inclusion for all.”

To apply for the “Fire in the Mountains” trip with the West Kelowna Professional Firefighters, write a letter telling them about yourself and explaining why you would like to participate and what it would mean to you.

Application must be received by March 15, 2016 at the CRIS Adaptive Adventures office, PO Box #25141, Mission Park, Kelowna, B.C. V1W 3Y7.

“We are excited about our 2016 trip location, Murtle Lake provides opportunities to paddle miles of uninhabited pristine shoreline, explore remote waterfalls, access alpine hiking trails only accessible by boat and sleep on peaceful beachfront camping spots.”

For more information on how to apply, or to find out how to get involved in similar trips as a participant or sponsor, visit www.adaptiveadventures.ca , phone 250 979 3941 or email [email protected].

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