Ten new all-terrain wheelchairs headed to Tennessee State Parks

Tennessee State Parks staff, Sunrise Medical staff, and Magic Mobility Extreme X8 all-terrain wheelchair users. | PHOTO PROVIDED

STATE OUTDOORS NEWS — This week, Tennessee State Parks announced the availability of new all-terrain wheelchairs at 10 state parks, enhancing accessibility for visitors and bringing the total of parks with all-terrain wheelchairs to 22. Nearby Tims Ford State Park previously received an all-terrain wheelchair.

The new wheelchairs announced this week are the result of a collaboration between the parks and Sunrise Medical, which designs and manufactures the wheelchairs, and the Tennessee Department of Disability and Aging. 

New all-terrain wheelchairs announced this week are at these state parks: Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park, David Crockett State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Fort Pillow State Historic Park, Harrison Bay State Park, Indian Mountain State Park, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, and Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park.

“This is an important step for our parks, and we are eager to provide this service,” said Greer Tidwell, deputy commissioner for Conservation at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “We are grateful for the work of Sunrise Medical and our partnership with the Tennessee Department of Disability and Aging. Tennessee State Parks are forever and for everyone.”

“At Sunrise Medical, we understand that the world is not flat, and with our Magic Mobility power chairs, we believe that everyone, regardless of ability, should have the opportunity to explore Tennessee’s incredible state parks,” said Larry Jackson, president of Sunrise Medical North America. “We are thrilled to partner with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to make this vision a reality. We hope other states will follow Tennessee’s example and provide more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to explore the great outdoors.”

“All-terrain wheelchairs give people with disabilities and older adults opportunities to see the natural beauty within Tennessee State Parks that would otherwise be out of reach,” said Brad Turner, commissioner of the Department of Disability and Aging. “I want to thank Tennessee State Parks and Sunrise Medical for their partnership and unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all Tennesseans.”

Other state parks that already have all-terrain wheelchairs are: Booker T. Washington State Park, Cove Lake State Park, Cumberland Mountain State Park, Cummins Falls State Park, Chickasaw State Park, Henry Horton State Park, Long Hunter State Park, Natchez Trace State Park, Radnor Lake State Park, Tims Ford State Park, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park, and Warriors’ Path State Park.

All-terrain wheelchairs are designed to navigate a wide range of terrains. They give visitors with limited mobility the opportunity to access and enjoy outdoor recreation that might otherwise be inaccessible. The chairs are free for visitor use and available for both children and adults. They can be operated independently and offer the option of allowing caretaker control.  

It is possible to request an all-terrain wheelchair upon arrival at a park, but it may already be reserved for another guest, so visitors are asked to give advance notice of the need for a wheelchair. TDEC is working to expand access to all-terrain wheelchairs in parks across the state.

More information about accessibility at Tennessee State Parks can be found here.

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan, independent community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}