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Lake Bemidji State Park 1 of 6 state parks to unveil all-terrain track chairs

Minnesota state parks hope to make trails more accessible with all-terrain track chairs to ensure that everyone, regardless of a mobility limitation, can enjoy the outdoor parks and recreation areas.

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Five adaptive all-terrain track chairs and one beach chair are making their way to six state parks in Minnesota, including Lake Bemidji State Park starting this month.
Courtesy / Minnesota DNR
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BEMIDJI — Minnesota state parks hope to make trails more accessible with all-terrain track chairs to ensure that everyone, regardless of a mobility limitation, can enjoy the outdoor parks and recreation areas.

Five adaptive all-terrain track chairs and one beach chair are making their way to six state parks in Minnesota, including Lake Bemidji State Park starting this month.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, track chairs are off-road, electric-powered chairs that can be used on undesignated trails within the parks. They add to disabled visitors’ experiences to help them explore areas of the state parks in ways that are not suitable for regular wheelchairs.

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All-terrain track chairs are off-road, electric powered chairs that can be used on undesignated trails within the parks.
Courtesy / Minnesota DNR

“Minnesota state parks are for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age or ability,” Minnesota DNR Assistant Commissioner Shannon Lotthammer said in a release. “Adaptive equipment like these all-terrain track chairs allows visitors to explore the great outdoors. Along with other parks and trails providers across the state, like our partners in Olmsted County and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, we hope to provide a system of adaptive-supported recreation opportunities, from backyard to backcountry.”

Minnesota state parks receiving track chairs are Camden State Park in Lynd, Crow Wing State Park in Brainerd, Myre-Big Island State Park in Albert Lea, Maplewood State Park in Pelican Rapids (available beginning in late summer/early fall), and as mentioned above, Lake Bemidji State Park (beginning in mid-June).

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The beach chair will be available at McCarthy Beach State Park in St. Louis County.

The DNR also added that approximately one in four people in the U.S. are living with some form of disability and all Minnesota parks are to be enjoyed by everyone, even to explore parts of the parks they may not have had access to previously on the trails that aren’t suitable for traditional wheelchairs.

“We know spending time in nature provides significant health and wellness benefits to people,” David Dively, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Disability, said in the release. “Providing adaptive equipment like the track chairs for visitors to use is critical to ensuring all Minnesotans have access to these outdoor opportunities and furthers our work to ensure Minnesotans with disabilities can live, work and play in the communities they choose.”

The chairs were brought to state parks through a partnership of local governments, the Minnesota DNR, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Council on Disability.

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All-terrain track chairs can add to a disabled visitors’ experiences to help them explore areas of the state parks in ways that are not suitable for regular wheelchairs.
Courtesy / Minnesota DNR

Although the chairs are free to use, vehicle permits still need to be purchased to enter the state parks. However, discounted permits are available for those who have a vehicle tag for a disability.

State park staff won’t be available to offer assistance in transferring, however, each location has a transfer board available for use. If visitors require assistance, the DNR recommends bringing a friend or caregiver along.

For more information about the track chairs or to make a reservation to use one, visit, dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/track-chairs.

Maggi is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on outdoor and human interest stories. Raised in Aitkin, Minnesota, Maggi is a graduate of Bemidji State University's class of 2022 with a degree in Mass Communication.
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