SEATTLE — A new first-of-its-kind guide for hikers with disabilities hoping to hit the trails in western Washington and Oregon is now on shelves.
"A sense of belonging, society so often tells me that I don't belong in spaces," said Syren Nagakyrie, the author of "The Disabled Hiker's Guide to Western Washington and Oregon."
"Everybody deserves access to the outdoors, including disabled folks, you know it's so important for us to have spaces where we can go out and experience this beautiful place just everyone else," said Nagakyrie.
It's this mentality that compelled them to create a non-profit organization, "Disabled Hikers," back in 2018. It advocates for people with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors and for parks and trails to improve accessibility.
"Disability is one of the largest communities in the world, 25 percent of people have some kind of disability, 60 percent of people have some kind of chronic illness." said Nagakyrie.
After two years of research and hiking more than 150 trails, they released "The Disabled Hiker's Guide to Western Washington and Oregon," which hit stores earlier this month. It breaks down the best 60 outdoor trails throughout the Pacific Northwest that are accessible and best suited for those living with disabilities.
"I wish this existed when I was growing up as a kid,” said Nagakyrie. “Growing up with multiple disabilities and not having access to the information to the community that I needed or wanted. So, I created it."
They believe Washington State Parks is on the right path toward more accessibility for all. However, they also think more work still needs to be done.
“You can become disabled at any point in time, so even if you don't think this impacts you now it could tomorrow," said Nagakyrie.