Access Northern California - Gateway to Accessible Tourism and Recreation Information About Access Northern California

Mission

Access Northern California is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to increase opportunities and improve access to travel and outdoor recreation for people with disabilities and seniors throughout Northern California.

Our Vision

We envision all people with disabilities having the freedom to participate in universally accessible travel and recreation.

Our Work

Information

  • We author a free accessible travel guide to San Francisco titled "Access San Francisco" available from the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/plan_your_trip/access_guide.asp
  • Via our website, email, or over the phone, we provide hard-to-find information about accessible travel and recreation in Northern California for people with physical disabilities and seniors.
  • We’ve created a descriptive guide on accessible trails, parks and sites in the San Francisco Bay Area titled "Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast." To request a free copy, call the California Coastal Conservancy (510)  286-1015 or download a copy in pdf. www.scc.ca.gov/webmaster/ftp/pdf/pub/sf_wheel_guidebook.pdf
  •  We provide consultation to businesses advising on how to include accessibility information in their publications and on their websites.
  • Training and Education
  • Our experienced staff offers Disability Awareness Trainings to businesses and government agencies.
  • We conduct workshops to educate organizations about travel and disability.
  • We consult with media to offer our expertise on accessible travel.

Training and Education

  • Our experienced staff offers Disability Awareness Trainings to businesses and government agencies.
  • We conduct workshops to educate organizations about travel and disability.
  • We consult with media to offer our expertise on accessible travel.

Advocacy

  • We serve on travel and recreation boards and commissions to help ensure that access for people with disabilities is addressed.

History

Access Northern California (ANC), founded in 1997 by Bonnie Lewkowicz, grew out of the difficulties and frustrations that she faced as a travel agent when she tried to plan accessible trips and outings for herself or her disabled friends. Ms. Lewkowicz realized that one of the biggest common barriers that prevented most people with disabilities from having successful, rewarding travel experiences was the severe lack of readily available and reliable access information. Even though The Information Age was well upon us, when it came to finding worthwhile access information, the internet proved to be an inadequate resource. Assuming the role of executive director, Ms. Lewkowicz led ANC to become one of the first organizations to address this digital divide by physically inspecting hotels, attractions, parks and trails and then sharing this information on a website dedicated to accessible tourism and recreation advocacy.

In addition to the information barrier, the founder also noted a pervasive lack of awareness within the travel industry about the needs of travelers with disabilities and how best to serve them. Educating the industry also became an important mission of ANC.

Who We Are

In keeping with ANC’s philosophical goals, people with disabilities serve in all aspects of the organization including staff and volunteers. At any given time, people with disabilities comprise 60% of ANC’s Board of Directors.

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Access Northern California is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization
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