All-Terrain Track Chairs Added to All Minnesota State Parks for Improved Accessibility

Nature is for everyone; however, it's not always accessible for all. The logistics of trail travel and park infrastructure often leave visitors with mobility disabilities unable to fully experience the park offerings. The state of Minnesota is actively trying to remedy this situation by purchasing more all-terrain track chairs that allow visitors to leave the pavement and set forth on adventure. Adding access in eight additional parks on August 1, 13 chairs will now be available across over a dozen state parks for free use upon reservation. As the state's Department of Natural Resources announced, “These chairs are available to anyone who has a need.”

The track chairs are essentially battery-powered wheelchairs without wheels. Instead, they are equipped with tracks much like an army tank or snowmobile. This allows the chair to travel over uneven ground blanketed in sticks and stones. The chairs are battery-powered and controllable by toggles. Visitors can use the chairs at all of Minnesota’s state parks, including Blue Mounds State Park, Crow Wing State Park, and Maplewood State Park. There is also a wheelchair specifically made for sand available at McCarthy Beach State Park. At the parks, trails where the track chairs are permitted are marked on maps, which can be previewed online along with the list of parks.

To reserve a chair, there is no payment. Visitors must simply call ahead to the specific park to request it. They also must have a state park vehicle pass. According to the state's park website, “A $35 year-round vehicle permit provides unlimited visits to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full year from the month of purchase.”

Those who qualify for disability parking can purchase the pass for only $12. When one arrives, there is no need to provide any documentation, one must simply sign a waiver. The park recommends bringing someone along to assist one in transferring into the chair, and there are transfer boards available. With this adaptive equipment available, becoming one with nature will be more accessible to all.

All-terrain track chairs are now available in over a dozen Minnesota state parks, allowing visitors with mobility disabilities to explore the beaches and trails.

Blue Mounds State Park

Blue Mounds State Park, one of the parks now offering all-terrain track chairs. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License)

h/t: [KSTP-TV]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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