Membership Support,

Sign up for a Team-Challenge Run and/or participate in a FREE Fun Fair!

Veterans Outreach Charity Run, MUDDY WARRIORS™ XPERIENCE - join us and help support our veteran and wheelchair events by participating or donating to this fun challenging event! (November TBD, 2018-See Experiential Events page for details)

Next Wheel to the Sea Hike is Saturday, May 5, 2018! (See Volunteer page for details) Help support The Wheel to the Sea hike with a financial contribution today!

We need your help to cover the additional operational expenses this year and to reach out to new users who can really benefit from the many outcomes that this program provides, to those who need them the most. From the fresh air and physical movement health benefits, to nature encounters such as wildlife sightings and wildflowers, and, most importantly, to the camaraderie of this social activity and self-respect enhancing outcomes of meeting the hiking challenge!

How You Can Help
1.Individual Sponsor of a Wheelchair participant:
a. Gold Sponsor: $50
b. Silver Sponsor: $25
c. Bronze Sponsor: $10

2. Business or Organizational Financial Sponsor:
a. Gold Sponsor: $500
b. Silver Sponsor: $250
c. Bronze Sponsor: $125

3. Merchant Business Sponsor
Display a Poster and Donation Collection Box to generate customer contributions and to promote the hike to more participants.

The “Wheel to the Sea” Story, "Push Your Limits!"

BACKGROUND History of The Wilderness Institute's Signature Event
(A California non-profit 501 (c) 3 Corporation) Ciana Grove, Event Coordinator

In Fall of 1985, The Wilderness Institute created the first Wheel to the Sea special event, serving people with physical disabilities. Participants and volunteer “pushers” traveled down a 4 1/2 mile trail through the Santa Monica Mountains, celebrating their accomplishment with a barbecue at Sycamore Cove State Beach.

This biannual event is co-sponsored by California State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and Kiwanis Clubs of Thousand Oaks, Canoga Park, and Northridge.

Event Background: An instructor with physical disabilities (Bruce Van Horn), a staff Recreational Therapist (Tina Johann), and two volunteers explored several trails through the Santa Monica Mountains to find an appropriate route for a day-long, volunteer supported wheelchair hike.

After struggling up difficult trails (sometimes even crawling and dragging their chairs) these wheelchair athletes realized that we needed to find a route that ran mostly downhill, perhaps following a stream to the ocean. We explored Sycamore Canyon within Point Mugu State Park and then offered the first event to members and friends of the Unrecables Outing Cub support group and community volunteers and staff. Buses were donated from the MRCA’s Recreation Transit Program (RTP). The Wheel to the Sea event for people with physical disabilities was then established and offered to the public and special groups.

The Wheel to the Sea event was so popular that n 1987 we expanded its offering to twice a year, spring (May) and fall (November).

Wilderness Wheelers These programs were the beginning of a series of special events put on by The Wilderness Institute for the general public and disabled community as part of our Wilderness Wheelers outreach program for people with physical disabilities. In the following years "Aquatics Day -Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing","White Water Rafting", "Rock Climbing (for the Blind)", "Adventure Ropes Courses", "Beach and Tide Pool Discoveries", “Yosemite Horseback Trip”, and "Evening with the Owls" were among other successful events.

FreeWheeling Is an exciting wheelchair donation, team-building, and fund development program designed to promote community collaboration, event sponsorship, and open participation for all while raising support for disabled Veterans and their families.

The Participants
Today, we are currently serving over 400 wheelchair participants and volunteers each year through this event. A major focus is serving military Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and their families. Many other participants are adults and children living with illnesses, or past accident patients who are living with physical disabilities and many living on their own or with family. Others include residents of the United Cerebral Palsy, Los Angels, Hillcrest House, CalVet, VA, as well as many other groups.

It has now been over 30 years that The Wilderness Institute has been providing this special biannual Wheel to the Sea event serving disabled military veterans and other wheelchair users with physical disabilities!

The Wheel to the Sea event endures to this day due to its unique combination of the Kiwanis Club and other community service volunteers, accessible but challenging hiking trail route, multi-agency support and participation, accessible bus transportation, great food, the need for individuals with physical disabilities to get outdoors, to experience fresh air, get help and assistance from other people, to build new relationships and make new friends, see wildlife, smell the ocean, and even get their feet wet in the sea. In addition, it may well be the enthusiasm of the volunteers and their continued support that keeps the event ongoing and who may just get the most returns from their heart-felt investment.

There have been many individuals who have been instrumental in supporting this event over the years. Although too many to mention here, a few need to be acknowledged: Arnie Corlin is The Wilderness Institute Board member who first helped to initiate this event. Arnie Rudman was the initial sponsor representative for the Kiwanis Club volunteer organization and who continues his involvement and leadership.

Anthony Hoffman, Supervisory State Park Ranger, has assisted for many years and provides direct support and leadership as the State Parks event partner representative and Michael Tardif is a lead event Naturalist and the Coordinator of our Veterans Outreach Program.

Note: Ranger Frank Padilla was the initial State Parks representative and we co-presented a workshop on “Coordinating Volunteer Events” at the California State Trails Conference focusing on the Wheel to the Sea through slides and video.

“The Wilderness Institute is committed to creating meaningful opportunities for people to expand their personal horizons, enhance their quality of life, and to contribute to our environment through action.” Brad Childs, Founder and Executive Director

Visit Wilderness Wheelers home page: