Minnesota parks expand all-terrain track chairs program

New all-terrain, electric track chairs have become all the talk at 13 Minnesota state parks. The battery-powered chairs are helping visitors with mobility disabilities explore trails that might be impassable on a regular wheelchair.

"We’ve done a lot to try and make parks more accessible, and equitable, and available, " Ft. Snelling State Park Assistant Park Manager Krista Jensen told FOX 9 on Sunday.

In 2022, the DNR launched the program at Camden, Crow Wing, Lake Bemidji, Maplewood, and Myre-Big Island state parks. Now, this week, they’ve expanded those efforts to Blue Mounds, Father Hennepin, Fort Snelling, Frontenac, Itasca, Lake Carlos, McCarthy Beach, and Split Rock Lighthouse state parks. 

The devices are available for free to anyone in need, seven days a week, as long as you call ahead to reserve it for the day.

"They can go anywhere and they can go do just about anything," Jensen said. "It really just brings independence and ability to explore nature, to a group of people that it can be hard."

Track chairs will be available year-round in some locations, and seasonally in others. Users are required to have an active state parks’ pass.