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Paving the Way to Nature, Freedom, and Sustainability with Topher

Your support can provide the gift of mobility to those who yearn for the freedom to connect with nature while simultaneously fighting the impacts of climate change on our beautiful state. Become a hero in someone’s story today!

A smiling man in a wheelchair outdoors, wearing a blue and yellow plaid shirt and green pants. He has a camera around his neck and is positioned against a backdrop of greenery and trees. The setting is the South Mesa trail.Colorado’s picturesque landscapes and serene nature trails are some of its most cherished assets. But what if you could not access these beautiful places in our community? That’s where Topher Downham’s passion for equitable access shines. He is the Education and Outreach Program Manager of Accessibility at the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.

In his 22 years of service, Topher has passionately worked towards promoting accessibility in the outdoors. He understands the healing effect of nature and has seen firsthand the life-changing impact of programs such as adaptive mountain biking. He recalls the joy of a woman, previously injured in a mountain biking accident, whose face lit up with a big smile upon trying an adaptive bike, transforming her initial hesitation into exhilaration. Click here to learn more about adaptive bike rides, Roll and Stroll hikes, and more.

Topher, who lives with quadriplegia, has faced challenges during travels, often grappling with transportation systems that aren’t entirely friendly for people with disabilities. And yet, with options like Via Mobility Services, riders gain the freedom to connect with nature.

A man in a wheelchair and a young woman, both outdoors, interacting with an information board. The man, wearing a blue plaid shirt and green pants, points to the board. The woman, in a green shirt and patterned pants, leans in to get a closer look. They are at the South Mesa trailhead.

Topher and Sarah planning their hike on the South Mesa Trail. Read more about Sarah.

His favorite trail? South Boulder Creek, starting at Bobolink, because of the calming presence of the stream. Topher shares, “The real essence of nature is when you can access it without any worries—without the anxiety of how you’ll go there or get back home.”

But beyond the individual stories, there’s a bigger narrative at play. Our world is changing rapidly. Climate change, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and an overwhelming dependence on individual vehicles pose an environmental threat and compromise our experience of nature. Congestion on I-70, for example, is one symptom we feel of our transportation crisis. As Topher rightly points out, if we had more efficient, accessible, mass public transit systems, it could alleviate our traffic woes, stress, and reduce our carbon footprint.

Donate to Via Now

Via Mobility Services connects individual freedom and environmental sustainability. By supporting Via, donors are ensuring that all people can experience nature and championing a cleaner, greener Colorado. Click here to learn more about Via’s sustainability commitment and progress toward a net-zero tailpipe-emissions fleet.

A man wearing a blue and yellow plaid shirt, green pants, and a straw hat sits outdoors with a wooden structure in the background. He is smiling and is in a relaxed setting surrounded by greenery.Calling All Mobility Heroes: Become a Part of Our Story

“Via’s accessible transportation services are a great way to get people with disabilities out into nature, especially when they can’t drive themselves or don’t have a vehicle.” – Topher

The beauty of Colorado’s landscapes waits for no one, and neither should those who dream of experiencing it. Every day we delay, someone misses out on a life-changing moment. Right now, one more person is waiting for every ten who ride with Via. With your help, we can ensure they don’t have to wait any longer.

Your support can make all the difference. Join us in paving the way for a more accessible, sustainable, and connected Colorado.

Two men inside a vehicle, one seated in a wheelchair wearing a blue and yellow plaid shirt with a camera on his lap, and the other man, wearing a blue polo shirt, leaning over assisting with the wheelchair's positioning. The interior of the vehicle has designated areas for wheelchair accommodation and a bag with a logo hangs on the side wall. Both men are smiling, and a window provides a view of the outdoors.

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