Common Ground Outdoor Adventures

by Schae Richards, community editor

Common Ground Outdoor Adventures is a local non-profit organization that provides outdoor recreational activities for youth and adults with disabilities — including cycling, canoeing, rafting, rock climbing and skiing — through adaptive equipment and supportive staff members and volunteers.

“We do this solely for people with disabilities,” said Bryce Patten, program director for Common Ground. “Outdoor recreation is what really inspires our participants to do more.”

Common Ground works mostly with areas in Northern Utah, Southeastern Idaho and Southwestern Wyoming, emphasizing opportunities with local agencies, organizations and schools.

“We try to stay here in the valley and focus on the means here,” Bryce said. “Most fundraising and donations come from here, so we want to serve those in our community.”

Since established in 1993, Common Ground has grown into its own facility and has secured new equipment and resources, which has expanded their activity and travel opportunities. They currently serve more than 500 people a year.

“We are inspiring people to do more with their lives,” Bryce said. “We are changing people in the community and their outlook on life.”

Along with these changes, the organization will open a year-round lodge at Beaver Mountain next year. It will offer a more active setting for its participants.

“For years, we have wanted to have a lodge at Beaver Mountain,” Bryce said. “It’s a place for our participants to know they are in a safe environment.”

This new lodge will cater specifically to people with disabilities, and will allow participants to be more independent as they will have greater access to equipment and other resources.

“When we go to Beaver Mountain, we are crowded often times,” Bryce said. “It’s hard for our participants to be independent because there are so many people and other conditions.”

In addition, the lodge will increase efficiency for the organization, providing extra storage space for equipment.

“We will be able to leave our ski equipment,” Bryce said. “That way, participants can get fitted with equipment and make sure they have proper clothing on.”

Bryce hopes this new facility will act as an outlet for participants, and that it will inspire families and nonlocals to get involved with the organization.

“For most people, they forget their worries and trials,” he said. “When you get them to other places, they feel alive again.”

The new lodge is estimated to be completed in spring 2016. To make a donation or for more information, call (435) 713-0288 or visit