First-of-its-kind Wheelchair Finally Gives Visitors With Disabilities Access to Scenic Hiking Trails at National Parks

  • 2019-08-06
  • Travel and Leisure

Travelers who need special assistance traversing steep scenic national park trails can now explore mesmerizing views of Lake Michigan, historic pastoral farm lands, and more thanks to a first-of-its-kind wheelchair at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The chair utilizes tracks that are able to traverse on sandy terrain to avoid sinking wheels that can often occur with a wheelchair, while maintaining a low pressure to avoid any damage to the trails themselves.

The chair provides less pressure per square inch than the average footstep thanks to the distribution of weight from the tracks, according to Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes representative Jeanne Esch, helping to both protect the park's natural offerings while allowing all to enjoy its magnificent scenery.

While Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the first national park to offer the chair, Colorado's Staunton State Park also offers a track chair program.