Accessible fishing now at Derby Reach

As a paralympic athlete, Doug Blessin has no problem casting his line quite a distance into the Fraser River in search of hungry fish.

As a paralympic athlete, Doug Blessin has no problem casting his line quite a distance into the Fraser River in search of hungry fish. He does, however, face a unique challenge that other bar anglers don’t.

“Because of my upper body strength, I can cast farther than most people,” notes Blessin, who uses a wheelchair. “But a lot of fishing on the Fraser is catch-and-release. I can’t be tossing a fish 100 metres back into the water. I need to be able to return the fish properly and gently.”

Soon, Blessin – and other anglers with reduced mobility – will be able to access a unique fishing opportunity at Edgewater Bar in Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley. With support from Metro Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, local businesses and volunteers, a universally accessible bar fishing ramp has been constructed – the first in the region.

Using concrete barriers and gravel, crews are creating a graduated ramp from the river bank, over riprap (placed rock protection) to a gravel platform at the river’s edge. The project – first proposed by members of the Derby Reach Brae Island Park Association – has moved forward quickly, thanks to supplies, materials and services donated by local companies, in conjunction with the Pacific Parklands Foundation.

“We’re delighted that staff, residents and businesses have pulled together to make this important project a reality,” said Heather Deal, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Environment and Parks Committee. “It’s truly a reflection of a community that cares and ensures all members of the public have access to this popular Fraser River fishing spot.”

The accessible fishing ramp is the latest addition to facilities in the park that make it easier for those using wheelchairs to experience the outdoors. Derby Reach Regional Park already boasts accessible washrooms, picnic shelters, trails, campsites and an off-leash dog area.

“It’s going to be used by a lot of people,” noted Jeremy Smith, president of the Derby Reach Brae Island Park Association. “And it showed me what can be done through cooperation and goodwill.”

Blessin, who has been involved in developing the ramp design, is looking forward to the constructed ramp. “I cannot wait to try it out with my twin boys and introduce them to fishing, conservation and the great outdoors.”

Visit to learn more about regional parks.

Just Posted

First-time Langley mayor’s gala raises $856,000

Final numbers are in for last month’s gala – $856,000 raised, $600,000 of which goes to hospital.

Langley ‘Gala’ helps fund ER expansion

Langley Mayor’s Gala raises $600,000 for Langley Memorial Hospital expansion

Young Giants make Worlds

Two forwards from the Langley-based WHL team were picked today to represent Canada.

Where to find Langley election results

Times reports as ballots are tallied Saturday

Langley Rams look for repeat victory Saturday, heading into semifinals

Finishing second in the regular season, Langley hosts its first playoff game in four years.

Legal pot price must be ‘competitive’ with black market: Blair

Bill Blair shared final words on journey to legalization ahead of official day Wednesday

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Most Read