All-terrain track chairs come to Minnesota state parks
Trails that were once inaccessible to those with mobility disabilities are now able to accommodate all visitors at several Minnesota state parks.
As of June 2, people with mobility disabilities who visit those parks can now use all-terrain track chairs or an adaptive beach chair.
The adaptive beach chair is located at McCarthy Beach State Park in northern Minnesota. The all-terrain track chairs are now available for use at Myre-Big Island, Crow Wing and Camden state parks. Lake Bemidji State Park will begin offering the track chairs in mid-June and Maplewood State Park should have them by late summer or early fall.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Assistant Commissioner Shannon Lotthammer said that adaptive equipment like the all-terrain chairs helps Minnesota state parks be more inclusive.
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“Minnesota state parks are for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age or ability,” she said. “We hope to provide a system of adaptive-supported recreation opportunities, from backyard to backcountry.”
Jamie McBride, a state parks and recreation areas consultant with the DNR, said the goal is to get people out on the trails who have not been able to access them before with the wheelchairs they own.
“We’re testing them out and we want to see how they work and if there is a demand,” McBride said. “We think that it’ll offer some benefit to people who haven’t been able to visit the state parks or use the trails We want to see how that works and if people will actually come out.”
One chair is located at each park and they can be reserved over the phone by calling the park office. The hours they’re available will be based on the staffing at each park.
There is no cost to use the chairs, but park-goers must have a Minnesota state parks pass. If the program is popular, it could expand to more parks across the state.