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Wyoming State Parks receives a new all-terrain mobility chair to help get more visitors outside

A motorized, all-terrain wheelchair with hefty rubber tracks around its multiple wheels. The chair has an American flag pttern and two big "headlights" underneath the seat.
Lee Burgess
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TrackMaster
The TrackMaster Series 2 mobility chair.

Wyoming State Parks has a new way to make sure bumpy trails or steep inclines don’t keep people from spending time enjoying the outdoors – the TrackMaster Series 2 mobility chair. Instead of traditional wheels, the motorized device has big, durable rubber tracks, which helps it go places where normal wheelchairs can’t.

The agency is one of 18 state parks across the country to receive the chair through a grant from the Ford Bronco Wild Fund and administered by the America’s State Parks Foundation. The goal is to increase access to parks and outdoor recreation opportunities for those with mobility challenges.

Kyle Bernis is the district manager for Wyoming State Parks in the southwest part of the state. He said the design of the battery-powered chair makes it possible for the device to handle bumpier trails and more tricky terrain, like sandy beaches.

“We just want to make sure that we're giving opportunities for people who don't have those opportunities to enjoy everything that Wyoming has to offer in our beautiful parks,” he said.

The TrackMaster chair is also able to handle slopes of up to thirty degrees – a big help when navigating trails that aren’t flat boardwalks or paved roads. The chair also features a cushioned seat, an adjustable reclining backrest and a headrest. Bernis said the chair is the first of its kind for the agency.

“The goal for us is to make sure that everybody knows that they're welcome and that everybody has opportunities, the same opportunities, to enjoy Wyoming’s outdoors,” he said.

The chair can be reserved for free on a first-come, first-serve basis at South Pass City State Historic Site and at Bear River and Seminoe State Parks. The three locations were chosen to make it as easy as possible to move the chair from one location to another – and because the sites were most compatible with the chair’s dimensions.

“The track chair is about 31 inches wide, so the trail has to be wide enough to support something like that,” Bernis said.

Bernis said the agency is also working with the Assistive Technology Research Center at the University of Wyoming to assess their parks so they can provide more information about the slopes and widths of their trails to visitors.

“If you were coming to a site and had never been on the trails before, and had mobility issues, you would need more information,” he said.

Wyoming State Parks ia also working to increase accessibility in other parks throughout the state. They recently completed a six-month project to install ramps at Ames Monument Historic Site outside of Laramie and also have electric mobility scooters at Fort Bridger State Historic Site by Evanston.

To learn more about the TrackMaster chair or reserve a date to use the device, contact kyle.bernis@wyo.gov.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.

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