Georgena Moran hasn’t let a crippling health condition keep her indoors. Instead, the Portland, Oregon native has continued to explore local trails and parks despite her limited mobility and is helping other individuals with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors.
In 1998, doctors diagnosed Moran with multiple sclerosis. By 2002, the disease had confined her to a wheelchair. As a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Moran wanted to continue connecting with nature but struggled to find wheelchair-accessible trails in her area.
“There was a lack of information online as well as in books,” Moran told KATU news. While many resources provided beautiful pictures of trails, they lacked specific information about trail surfaces, she explained. So, Moran created her own database, Access Trails, to inform fellow hikers in the Portland area about trail conditions and ease of use for individuals with disabilities.
“These trails vary from ones where you can reach the water to other ones that are like a picnic area,” Moran said. She particularly enjoys trails with natural surfaces: “I prefer to go out there and feel like I’m part of a natural environment.”
Moran is equally at home in the woods and on the water. Before her diagnosis, she loved boating—so with the help of friends, she designed two motorized vessels which accommodate her disability. “You figure out a way and technology helps along the way,” Moran explained. “You learn different ways to be able to make your dreams come true.”
Thanks to Moran’s efforts, other wheelchair users can make their outdoor dreams come true, too.