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Minnesota DNR unveils 'track chairs' to make state parks more accessible

Starting June 1, visitors can make reservations to use the adaptive chairs at five Minnesota state parks.
Credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Parks and Trails all-terrain vehicle, track chair, media event 06/01/22. Myre-Big Island State Park

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is attempting to make the great outdoors accessible to everyone by introducing all-terrain "track chairs" for use at state parks and trails.

On Wednesday, June 1, DNR and state parks officials debuted the electric-powered chairs at Myre-Big Island State Park in Albert Lea, and began taking reservations for their use at participating parks.

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

Adaptive beach chairs are also available at McCarthy Beach State Park.

The DNR says the special chairs are for use on trails that are not suitable for traditional wheelchairs, allowing visitors to explore areas of the parks they may not have previously had access to.

The chairs are free to use, but a state parks vehicle permit is required for all vehicles entering the park. Additionally, if you have a vehicle hang for a disability, there are options available for discounted permits.

For more information about the all-terrain track chairs, click here.

“Minnesota state parks are for everyone to enjoy, regardless of age or ability,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Assistant Commissioner Shannon Lotthammer said in a statement. “Adaptive equipment like these all-terrain track chairs allows visitors to explore the great outdoors."

Adaptive equipment is also available at certain local and regional parks and trials, like Olmstead County Parks and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

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