Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has recently announced the expansion of its track chair offering at state parks across the region. By August 1, visitors will be able to access track chairs at 13 different state parks, allowing them to explore trails that are unsuitable for traditional wheelchairs.
These all-terrain wheelchairs are set to transform the way visitors experience state parks. The chairs enable individuals to access areas of the parks that were previously inaccessible, opening up the opportunity for groups of family and friends to explore together in ways that were not previously possible.
Nikki Villavicencio, chair of the Minnesota Council on Disability, spoke about the importance of all-terrain wheelchairs in state parks. She emphasized how these wheelchairs have the power to transform the lives of individuals with disabilities and give them the chance to truly experience the beauty of nature.
To ensure availability, officials are encouraging people to call and reserve track chairs ahead of time. The chairs are free of charge, but visitors will need to obtain a state park vehicle permit to enter the park. However, those with a disability hang tag can take advantage of discounted vehicle permits.
Among the state parks that will offer track chairs are Crow Wing State Park, Lake Bemidji State Park, Maplewood State Park, and McCarthy Beach State Park. McCarthy Beach State Park will also continue to offer adaptive beach chairs as part of their accessibility initiatives.
The expansion of the track chair program comes after its successful implementation in its first year. The positive feedback and wide demand prompted the decision to extend the program to more state parks in Minnesota.
With the availability of track chairs, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is striving to make state parks more accessible and inclusive for all visitors. This initiative promises to create new opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the beauty of nature and create lasting memories with their loved ones.