All-terrain wheelchairs coming to some Georgia State Parks

The program is a partnership with Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - All-terrain wheelchairs could be coming to some Georgia State Parks by the end of the summer. The idea is for certified Georgians to rent chairs, free of charge, and hit the trails.

”It is just a sense of freedom that a lot of people in wheelchairs never get and a lot of people with disabilities never get,” said Melanie Dunn with The Aimee Copeland Foundation.

The idea is to have all-terrain wheelchairs at certain Georgia Parks. People who are certified can reserve a chair about 72 hours before their hike, show up at the park with their certified buddy, and hit the trails!

The program is a partnership with Georgia Department of Natural Resources and right now is only open to people with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries and lower body amputations.

”I want to be a voice for those who don’t think that they can do it themselves because they can and that is what our foundation is all about,” said Dunn.

Each chair is $15,000. The chairs help someone who uses a wheelchair navigate terrain, a normal wheelchair could not.

”I am a double amputee,” said Dunn, “It was like running and I haven’t been able to do that in years.”

The foundation has 10 all-terrain chairs and just purchased another. They are hoping to have enough donations to have all-terrain wheelchairs at parks across the state.

”As someone who was born with abilities and had it taken away -- I can speak to it from a different degree but for someone who has never had those abilities, to actually have them for the first time, I can only imagine...the overall feeling of empowerment they must have. For us to be a part of that is just an amazing, amazing, feeling,” said Dunn.

The program is still in the beta testing phase so if you are watching this, you love the outdoors, you use a wheelchair and meet the qualifications above, this opportunity might be for you!

All Terrain Georgia

Kim Morris-Zarneke, Program Manager for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center says, “The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is excited to partner with the Aimee Copeland Foundation to make the Action Track Wheelchair available at select DNR properties. This chair provides a chance for all members of the public to get outside and really explore the numerous recreational opportunities offered by DNR. The Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, one of the DNR locations where the Action Track Wheelchair will be available, offers trails, archery, shooting, fishing, and hunting opportunities that the user can now access easier than ever, allowing participants to fully benefit from the outdoors experience.”