Tennessee State Parks Provide 7 New All-Terrain Wheelchairs

Monday, March 11, 2024 | 02:16pm

Tennessee State Parks today announced the availability of new all-terrain wheelchairs at seven state parks, enhancing accessibility for visitors and bringing the total of parks with the wheelchairs to 12.

The announcement is especially timely at Cummins Falls State Park, which has a new 3,600 sq. ft. ADA accessible overlook at the end of the .4-mile Falls Overlook Trail. Non-electric wheelchairs can also access the overlook.

The announcement of the seven wheelchairs comes on the same day as Disability Advocacy Day in Tennessee.

“We are delighted to offer this service,” said Greer Tidwell, deputy commissioner of Conservation for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). “We intend to serve every person who wants to visit our parks, and we are dedicated to making the experience the best it can be for everyone. We are grateful to Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly for the funding to make this happen.”

The parks offering all-terrain wheelchairs beginning today are:

Cove Lake State Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park

Cummins Falls State Park

Chickasaw State Park

Long Hunter State Park

Natchez Trace State Park

Warriors’ Path State Park

“We must remove barriers for everyone with disabilities, and these all-terrain wheelchairs are an important step for our parks,” said Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, who introduced the resolution declaring today as Disability Advocacy Day. “We want all Tennesseans to enjoy our parks, and the wheelchairs are just one way to show that commitment.”      

The wheelchairs announced today follow the availability of wheelchairs at Radnor Lake State Park, Tims Ford State Park, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park, Henry Horton State Park, and Booker T. Washington 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 to the public 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 chair 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 chair. TDEC is working to expand access to all-terrain wheelchairs in parks across the state.

Governor Lee has stated the goal of having the “most accessible park system in the nation.” He and the General Assembly appropriated over $1.2 million for all-terrain wheelchairs to be placed in the parks system, along with $1.6 million to make improvements to trail accessibility.

For more information about accessibility in Tennessee State Parks visit this link. To make a reservation to utilize an all-terrain wheelchair, visit this link.