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All-Terrain Wheelchair Coming To Cumberland Mountain Park

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
All-Terrain Wheelchair Coming To Cumberland Mountain Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park celebrated Tennessee Disability Advocacy Day by announcing a new all-terrain wheelchair is available for use.

Park Manager Chip Hillis said many frequent visitors are prevented from experiencing the extent of the park’s beauty due to mobility limitations. He said the wheelchair has a four-wheel drive feature that will allow disabled visitors to hike remote trails that would have otherwise been inaccessible.

“We want everyone to come out and experience what our state parks are about,” Hillis said. “And if we can provide the means such as these all-terrain type vehicles to allow people to get out and experience the park as they would have never been able to experience it before, then that’s our goal.”

Hillis said this is the next step in the park’s “Access 2030” initiative, a plan to have all Tennessee State Parks ADA accessible by 2030. He said people planning a visit can call ahead, reserve the wheelchair, and plan to venture into Tennessee’s vast natural landscape.

“I think of my own father who has some issues being able to walk freely due to his age and knee issues,” Hillis said. “I just think of lots of places in this park that I get to hike out and see regularly. He’s not able to do that because of having bad knees. So, without something such as this all-terrain vehicle, he would never have that opportunity to experience those things.”

Hillis said the park has made strides in accessibility in recent years. He said several playgrounds are now ADA-accessible and some trails have been cleared to cater to hikers with mobility issues.

“I would imagine it would be used on a weekly basis,” Hillis said. “But as we get into it and as it becomes more known to people that this opportunity is available to them, I’m sure that need or use will increase quite a bit.”

Cumberland Mountain is among 12 Tennessee State Parks that have received wheelchairs after the General Assembly approved $1.2 million for the wheelchairs to be distributed throughout the park system.


The post All-Terrain Wheelchair Coming To Cumberland Mountain Park appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.