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The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Expands ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ Initiative to Address Water Accessibility

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Expands ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ Initiative to Address Water Accessibility

As Summer Begins, ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ Provides Water Accessibility Resources for Those Living with Paralysis and Other Disabilities 

SHORT HILLS, N.J. [June 20, 2024]Today, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation launched an expansion of its ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ initiative with a dedicated focus on water accessibility. This summer, the Foundation is committed to breaking down barriers and fostering an inclusive environment where all individuals living with or impacted by paralysis can enjoy water-based activities, from accessible kayaking to adaptive water sports to simply enjoying a beautiful beach day. The initiative aims to ensure everyone can join in summer fun through education and key partnerships, providing water accessibility tips and raising awareness about opportunities for inclusive water recreation across the U.S.

Piloted in 2023, ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ was created to ensure that the outdoors is equally accessible and inclusive for those living with paralysis, their families, and their caregivers. Through ‘Outdoors for Everyone,’ the Foundation provides the community and outdoor organizations with the knowledge, solutions, and resources to ensure the great outdoors is accessible for all. The pilot focused on ensuring that walking, hiking, and other outdoor trails were accessible for wheelchair users and others living with disabilities.

This year’s expansion on water accessibility builds on the initial focus of trails and parks, helping connect the community to various existing water accessibility programs throughout the nation, while continuing to serve as an educational resource to organizations that share the Foundation’s commitment to quality of life and goal to make the outdoors more accessible.

As part of ‘Outdoors For Everyone, the Foundation’s highly trained Information Specialist team plays a crucial role in helping identify accessible pools, beaches, and other water programs and assist in providing information that can help community members plan day trips and vacations. Additionally, the community can utilize the Foundation’s Resource Map, an online tool that assists in locating accessible resources, equipment and programs throughout the U.S.

Outdoors for Everyone: Water Accessibility Checklist

The Foundation also created a new ‘Water Accessibility Checklist’ to serve as a go-to educational resource for the community and outdoor organizations. The checklist includes recommendations and tips tailored to beaches, pools, and other water environments to ensure people living with disabilities can fully enjoy these spaces.

Recommendations from the ‘Water Accessibility Checklist’ include:

  • Before Arrivals: Necessary website and map information for accessibility; training requirements for lifeguards and other personnel
  • Arrivals and Departures: Details on accessible parking spaces; understanding of wheelchair transfers and transfer devices
  • Things to Do: Recommendations on water-accessible activities, from using beach access mats, accessible boats and other water sports, use of accessible flotation devices, and even adaptive fishing
  • Safety and Health Tips: Special considerations for conditions often affecting those living with disabilities; general water and pool safety tips to prevent injury

“The ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ initiative is making strides to address preventable limitations in environments that are critical for well-being” said Dan McNeal, Director, Quality of Life Grants Program at the Reeve Foundation. “Nature-based activities have a profound impact on mental health, social interactions, and overall quality of life. With water accessibility as our primary focus this summer, the Foundation is pleased to support opportunities for individuals living with paralysis and caregivers to immerse themselves in nature and experience its unparalleled joy.”

Collaborations and partnerships are a fundamental component of Outdoors for Everyone. This year’s partners include:

This year, the Foundation is also thrilled to join forces and partner with the National Park Service (NPS), a champion of the outdoors that shares the vision of making outdoor and recreational spaces more accessible and inclusive for all. As part of ‘Outdoors for Everyone,’ the National Park Service has provided a list of accessible programs and resources that have been added to the Reeve Foundation’s Resource Map.

“The National Park Service wants everyone to have an equal opportunity to benefit from outdoor recreation on public lands,” said Jeremy Buzzell, Branch Chief for the National Park Service Accessibility Management Program. “I’m honored to contribute to ‘Outdoors for Everyone’ and to work with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to raise awareness of the existing outdoor recreation opportunities available to the paralysis community through our National Parks.”

For more information, visit or call our Information Specialists at 1-800-539-7309. Our Information Specialists are available Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. ET – 12 a.m. ET.  Live agents are available to chat via the Reeve Foundation website. You can also leave a message if you are calling after hours.

About the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis. Additionally, through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living, the Reeve Foundation’s National Paralysis Resource Center (NPRC) promotes the health, well-being, and independence of people living with paralysis, providing comprehensive information, resources, and referral services assisting over 128,000 individuals and families since its launch in 2002. The Reeve Foundation is committed to elevating our community’s voices and needs to achieve greater representation and independence.

We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. For more information, please visit or call 800-225-0292.

This project is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The content is those of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by ACL/HHS or the U.S. government.

SOURCE: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Media Contact: 

Julia Leonard, Media Specialist
[email protected]