The Able Outdoors Story
Our journey began back in the 1990’s when a site called Follow Me Outdoors was created to chronicle some of Chad’s adventures and be an information source for anybody looking to get back outside like he was. Soon after, he started writing about other people he’d met who had varying types and degrees of abilities. He wanted to share with the world the different kinds of adaptive equipment that they used to hunt & fish.
Chad was lucky enough to win an antelope hunt in New Mexico from Buckmasters where he ended up taking a nice goat in the famed Gila National Forest. When he got home, he wrote a story that got published in Rack Magazine, his first ever as a writer. That was the point when he thought about how much harder it would be for disabled hunters to get their stories into mainstream media, and that made it all the more important to share their explorations with others.
Dawn also searched for ways to experience the outdoors post-injury. Her first encounter was with an adaptive sailing program which she ended up coordinating for a year. After that, Dawn worked with various individuals in finding or designing equipment that would make it possible for her to participate in activities like hand cycling, downhill skiing, camping, cross training, archery and paddling.
Having struggled herself in finding resources and information on adaptive programs, Dawn began sharing her own trials and successes as a public speaker. Over the years, she became involved in organizing outdoor events like a hand cycling clinic, a few kayaking outings and a couple shooting workshops for women with disabilities. As she connected with more people, it became strikingly clear how many people with challenging circumstances were unaware of the possibilities that were available.
In early 2010, Chad came across a spinal cord injury newsletter that Dawn was the editor of at the time. He asked if she would like to work on a publication with him. The answer was easy…..Yes!
“In the 80’s, the internet was still very new so there wasn’t much to be found in the way of disabled outdoors. There’s a lot more of it today, of course, but it’s still scattered all over the place. Able Outdoors is going to solve that problem.” – Chad W.
Able Outdoors will be a reference for the able sportsman, their family members, and the professionals working in all types of therapeutic programs. We want to show people who think they can’t that they can. To show them where to go, how to do it, who to do it with, what equipment they’ll need and how to find it. We hope to reach those who have been lost and forgotten or been recently injured. Naturally, our goal is to inspire those people to get outside, and then come back to tell us about it so others can learn from their journeys.
The Able Outdoors site and magazine will reveal the inspirational stories about physically-challenged sportsmen and women of all ages and how they’ve succeeded in the face of extreme adversity. We will focus on Hunting and Fishing of course, but we’ll also cover the entire spectrum of outdoor activities. We’ll have separate sections for Outdoor Recreation, Wounded Warriors, and Travel, as well as Adaptive Equipment Reviews, Resource Listings and State Event Listings. Along with story submissions from our readers, we have a small group of contributing columnists each with his or her own unique experiences to reflect from.
The Able Outdoors magazine will be published three times a year (Jan., May, & Sept.) beginning in September 2015 with a special kickoff issue earlier in the year. For both the website and magazine, we welcome story ideas & submissions, info about programs and organization news & events, equipment reviews, and travel tips. This will be a growing resource we believe will make a difference, so please hop on board and contribute.