After more than 40 years of serving the disabled through outdoor recreation in Moab and southeastern Utah, the non-profit organization Splore has merged with the Park City-based National Ability Center. As a result, Splore has filed an official notice to dissolve its non-profit corporate entity.
Splore, which was formed in 1977, joined forces with NAC in July 2017. Splore was organized shortly after federal law was changed to make it illegal to deny a person with disabilities access to any federal property due to the disability. Inspired by river trips conducted with friends with unique abilities and disabilities, Splore founder Martha Ham began the organization to develop adapted and accessible river trips. In 1980, Ham incorporated as a non-profit organization and acquired commercial permits on National Forest Service land, as well as sections of the Colorado and Green rivers. In recent years, Splore programs have expanded beyond the river to provide many forms of outdoor adventures for persons of all abilities.
“2017 has been a monumental year for the NAC and Splore and we are confident about the positive impact we can make as a united front,” said NAC Program and Education Director Tracy Meier. “Together, we can continue to authentically serve our community and participants in Park City as well as strategically build out and maximize our mobile resources and capabilities to reach individuals all over the world.”
During a September 2017 event that featured staff and friends of both organizations, NAC shared a preview of a revitalized Splore brand, which includes 70 years of collective experience. The Splore adventure programs are now unified with NAC and will be known under the latter’s brand name. At the event, the NAC “Difference Maker” award was presented to Grand County businessman Colin Fryer, owner of Moab’s Red Cliffs Lodge, for his long time support of Splore’s mission and programs.
“This ... is a win for everyone. Over the last 40 years, we’ve had the opportunity to literally change lives and with the strength behind the NAC, our mission is stronger than ever,” Ham said. “We look forward to seamlessly transitioning into this next chapter and working closely with all departments to create greater accessibility and mobility for our services.”
The NAC, which was founded in 1985, offers a wide variety of programs both seasonally and year-round. NAC activities include alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horseback riding, indoor rock climbing, swimming, archery, sled hockey, cycling, water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and challenge course activities. Certified instructors, trained interns and volunteer assistants provide programming for individuals with orthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular, visual and hearing impairments and cognitive and developmental disabilities.
“I am thrilled to move into this new venture and humbled by the opportunity to carry on the incredible legacy Splore has established,” said Gail Barille, NAC’s chief executive officer. “Joining forces enables us to expand both the mission of the NAC and Splore to reach more kids, veterans and families in need and take them further than they thought possible. Together, we will continue to push the boundaries of recreation for different abilities and explore the possibilities within each of us.”
For more information on NAC, visit discovernac.org.