Smithers, British Columbia, Newspaper The Interior News - by Gretel Miles20 March 1996
Hazelton area boasts new campground to service phisically challenged
Last Update: 09.01.1997
Where can you go for riverfront recreation around the Hazeltons if you hare in a wheelchair ?
As of this summer the answer will be Rivers Edge, a campground and resort about 24 kilometers north of Hazelton that is
the work of Rob and Braunwyn Henwood of the Kispiox Valley.
We need it, says Henwood there is nothing like it around here.
The couple met eight years ago through Workmers' Compensation. At the time he was receiving treatment for logging
injuries and she was training on computers. Braunwyn has been in a wheelchair since a vehicle accident in 1984.
She is looking forward to using the campground, and having friends in wheelchairs visit.
In eight years I've seen all the difficulties and obstacles for people in chairs, says Rob, and I decided it was time
to do something.
The idea came to him and he's been working on it for six years. It's all been done without loans or partners.
Finally approval came through from all the necessary ministries and the dream will become reality.
The campground area covers 12 acres along the Kispiox River, with two natural springs and two of the best fishing holes
on the river. There will be space for 20 RVs, and 45 camp sites with ample space between. Each camp site has a fire pit
for cooking and privacy provided by space and brush. A network of chair-accessible trails will connect the entire camp.
At the north end will be the parking lot and office. A large recreation area is planned, with eventually a shower and laundry
facility as well as food and snack outlet.
Eventually there will be six self-contained cabins, three at each end of the camp. The cabins will be fully chair accessible,
including washroom facilities. There will be picnic tables and a big covered hut with barbecues for large groups. The space
will be available for free day use for everyone, says Henwood.
I want to open it up for everyone in the area.
Henwood has designed chair acces picnic tables for the grounds. He's working with a friend on a design for an easy access
barbecue for people in chairs who can't get close to the fire.
The camp sites are on an upper flat, and the lower level will be for recreation with fishing holes and a wharf. Also on the lower
flat will be a natural pool and playground for kids with or without wheelchairs.
Henwood wants to tie in with other local recreation businesses, such as raft tours. Eventually he'd like to have horse camping,
to allow locals and visitors to tour around the Kispiox Valley.
All clearing has been selective, done by hand close to the river, with no large machinery on the lower flat. A stand of old spruce
has been left, as well as some huge old cotton woods on the riverbank. Native plants will be used and encouraged.
The first outhouses will be concrete, and Henwood is looking at the most environmentally friendly way to handle the sewage
needs of the camp.
Any time he has questions about how to do something he says he just calls up the appropriate agency and asks for information. The response has been great, he says.
Everyone has been really useful, says Henwood.
He's contacted groups which design recreation equipment for the disabled and has plans for fishing and boat docks.
In looking at the design of the entire camp Henwood says he has considered what is good for the air, the land and the river.
The landscaping is understated, following the lines of the land. There are beautiful river views from every campsite and it
never looks like a bulldozed clearcut.
Every day he spends at least few hours walking the land by the river, whatching how the water flows as the snow melts and
perfecting the plan of the dream campsite.
It is such a beautiful place, I really want to make it a place that more people can get to and enjoy.
The reality is coming along and the Rivers Edge will beopne in time for the second annual Kispiox Valley Music Festival, the
last weekend in July.
It is available a geographic map to show the location of Kispiox (British Columbia - Canada) (NOT YET!)