National Ability Center CEO shares future plans, vision

​ The National Ability Center, based in Park City, has combined their program with that of Splore in Moab, a non-profit that has served individuals and families of all abilities for more than 40 years through facilitating outdoor recreation in Grand County.

​ The merger of operations has been underway for more than a year, during which Splore filed an official notice to dissolve its non-profit status. This year the merger will take full effect and the Moab community will have a chance to benefit from and evaluate the new programs put in place.

​ “We came together back in January 2017 with one goal,” said Gail Barille, NAC’s chief executive officer. “By coming together we could combine our programs and maximize our community outreach to more individuals with different abilities, with participants as young as three and as old as their 90s.”

​ According to Barille, the combination of NAC’s resources with the outdoor river and trail experience of Splore will provide an exciting opportunity for outreach during 2018. She said she believes there will be more chances for diversification of outdoor recreation activities, as well as wider community access to those initiatives. While the NAC works mostly indoors, the merger with Splore presents an opportunity for organizational growth and more staff involvement in outdoor programs.

​ Barille also noted the deep — and continued — involvement of local businessman Colin Fryer.

​ “[Fryer] has been involved in Splore for many years and other volunteers like him that are based in Moab are an essential part of what we’re doing,” Barille said. “We haven’t connected with the community as much as we’d like, to be able to share our message and the opportunities that are offered for anyone that has a family member with the challenge of getting out and recreating.”

​ The NAC has been working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation in order to increase accessibility in present and future activities. NAC is currently in the process of receiving a grant that will allow for more community partnerships and the development of infrastructure and investment in outdoor recreation.

​ “There are dollars out there for communities to invest in outdoor recreation, and if someone is looking to open a new trail, they can partner with us,” Barille said. “These infrastructure options can encourage accessibility.”

​ The programs in place at the NAC have allowed for individuals with disabilities to participate in Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming, archery, sled hockey, cycling, water-skiing, wake-boarding, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, paddle boarding and challenge course activities.

​ “Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting out the door to go to the grocery store and if we can provide a healing environment whether on the river or the trail, those successes can be translated to other parts of their lives,” Barille said. “The impact is amazing and visible.”

​ For more information about programs or volunteer opportunities with NAC, visit discovernac.org.

ByBy Vlad Dandu

The Times-Independent