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The Barrier Free Project
Yamnuska Wolfdog walking in the sanctuary enclosure in alberta canada.
October 3, 2021

The Barrier Free Project

Creating an inclusive Sanctuary experience while improving your overall visitor experience!

Renovating the Sanctuary Walkways and creating an inclusive outdoor event space.

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A high-content wolfdog from the yamnuska wolfdog sanctuary in cochrane, alberta
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In Early October, we will begin the journey of creating a barrier-free experience at the Sanctuary! The need for this project was identified after observing the ongoing challenges persons with disabilities face when visiting the Sanctuary and manoeuvring through our pathways. With our pathways currently being entirely natural, they are subjected to all weather conditions such as snow, ice, and mud. Furthermore, the uneven terrain and fixed objects such as tree roots further increases the challenges of exploring the grounds with a mobility assistance device such as wheelchairs and walkers. These factors also prevent us from being able to manage the pathways in the winter which further impacts mobility.

The Accessibility Pathway Project

The first step in creating a barrier-free experience at the Sanctuary is to renovate the pathways in our Sanctuary Walk program. This step has been named the ‘Accessibility Pathway Project’ and its goal is to remove the physical barriers that prevent the Sanctuary walkways from being inclusive all-year round. Within this phase, we will be converting 2,951ft of natural pathways into a level and durable Rundle Fine pathway. This pathway will work with, not against, the trees to ensure that the natural aesthetic of the Sanctuary Walk is maintained for both you and the wolfdogs.

The Accessibility Pathway Project will cost $160,000. We are extremely fortunate to have secured a $75,000 grant from the Calgary Foundation to move forward with the work of this project! We have also worked with consultants from Calgary’s Cerebral Palsy Kids and Families as well as Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society to ensure that the work done in this project truly meets the needs of persons with disabilities.

In addition to the Accessibility Pathway Project, we will also be creating an inclusive outdoor event space. This space is where we bring out Mawko, a low-content wolfdog from the Pocaterra Pack, on-leash for guests to meet. This space will soon feature a gazebo, seating areas and beautiful landscaping. We are looking forward to hosting many events and activities in this space in the future!

It is our goal that by renovating our pathways and creating a new outdoor event space, that Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary becomes both a wonderful outdoor community event space and must-see tourist destination that is inclusive all-year round. By removing the physical barriers that exist at the Sanctuary, your visitor experience will also be drastically improved.

We cannot wait to have you join us in-person for the launch of our new pathways and outdoor event space! Further details and updates will be available here and social media pages soon!

The Accessibility Pathway Project 2022 Update

With our Pathway Project and outdoor event space now complete, we are well under way to becoming a completely inclusive facility!

We are also so excited to announce that through the help of funding through the Tourism Relief Fund, we are ready to move to Phase 3 of our Barrier Free Project! Phase 3 of this initiative will see the construction of a wheelchair accessible viewing platform in our Galatea Enclosure. This will allow us to offer our Intro Tour to everyone, including those with mobility restrictions. The new viewing platform will not only be completely wheelchair accessible, but also allow guests a much more intimate experience with the wolfdogs at ground level. Additionally, guests that are unable to stand for the duration of the tour will now easily and comfortably be able to enjoy the same educational experience we have been offering with our current Intro Tour.

Construction will begin this summer and we are hoping to be able to start offering this as a visiting option in Fall of 2022!