Open For Adventure

History of Splore

The story of Splore begins with our founder Martha Ham. While studying therapeutic recreation, Martha traveled to California to work with an organization called Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) in 1976. ETC helped individuals with disabilities participate in recreational activities such as river rafting. After returning to Utah, Martha hoped to find a similar organization. Although she discovered that there was no such organization, Martha recognized the need for a Utah-based outdoor recreation service for people with disabilities and she decided to start her own organization to fill that void.

Martha's first challenge was to find an outfitter willing to work with people with disabilities. After several rejections she came in contact with Ken Sleight, owner of Ken Sleight Expeditions, who agreed to host a trip that took a group of developmentally disabled individuals river rafting. It was a great success and it encouraged Martha to expand the program.

Accessible river rafting

By 1979, the popularity of Martha's programs helped develop the organization into an incorporated agency. Along with local attorney Bryan Barnard and other volunteers, Martha came up with a name, and Special Populations Learning Outdoor Recreation and Education (SPLORE) was born. More recently, the goal of Splore is to involve "people of all abilities" in all programming and in 2005, the phrase "Special Populations" was no longer considered to be an appropriate description. Now the organization name is no longer an acronym and is simply known as "SPLORE." As a coincidence, the word "splore" in Scottish means "a frolic; revel; or carousal", which is a great description for the exciting activities Splore provides to our participants!