When Langara Fishing Lodge opened in 1985, our home at Langara Island was one of the most inaccessible locations in B.C.
Figuring out how to transport and comfortably host able-bodied guests at this remote island was extremely challenging, and the thought of bringing guests with serious mobility issues to the lodge seemed inconceivable.
But that all changed when we met Rick Hansen, Canada’s Man in Motion, and began working with his Foundation on an annual fundraising event at Langara. Since that first event in 1998, Rick has continuously encouraged and challenged us to make our lodge more accessible to people with mobility issues.
At a recent Rick Hansen Leadership Summit, we proudly hosted our largest group of guests with disabilities, including nine wheelchair users.
The essential goal of the Rick Hansen Foundation is to create a world without barriers for people with disabilities. Langara Fishing Lodge is very proud to be a part of that world, and to have made the wonders of Langara Island accessible for all.
Notable improvements to the lodge include:
- installation of a mechanical lift, improving access from the docks to the main lounge and guest rooms (donated by Atlantic Lifts);
- installation of a dock davit, enabling guests using wheelchairs to conveniently board our boats (donated by Steelhead Marine);
- working with our suppliers to develop and improve assistive fishing equipment, including a sip-and-puff fishing reel;
- renovation of several guest rooms and bathrooms to be fully wheelchair accessible.
Above: Robb Dunfield, with lodge manager Bill Gibson showing off Robb’s first catch at Langara Island — a 20-pound Chinook salmon.
For Robb Dunfield, an avid angler before his spinal cord injury, the true meaning of fishing at Langara hit him as they motored back to the lodge after catching his first salmon using a sip-and-puff reel:
“My smile grew bigger and tears rolled down my cheek. I had just experienced something I thought I’d never do again in my life. I was having a real adventure – just like anybody else.”