Nov 15, 2021 - Things to Do

Hiking in a wheelchair? It's happening in Georgia.

A special wheelchair for outdoor use

The All Terrain Chair (ATC), coming soon to a state park near you. Photo courtesy of the Aimee Copeland Foundation

People with physical disabilities often don’t have the opportunity to enjoy Georgia’s state parks. Thanks to a first-of-its-kind program launching today, that’s about to change.

What’s happening: All Terrain Georgia, a program of the Atlanta-based Aimee Copeland Foundation, has purchased 10 electric All Terrain Chairs (ATCs) for people living with disabilities who can’t normally access much of nature. These chairs can go through creek beds, climb steep hills and handle all kinds of obstacles.

Why it matters: “So many people that are confined to wheelchairs may never leave their home other than to go to medical appointments," Melanie Dunn, assistant director of the foundation and a double amputee, told Axios. "We feel that nature is such a healing tool for people who have mobility impairments."

  • Dunn said there’s no other program in the country that allows people with mobility challenges to reserve the carbon neutral chairs for use.

The ribbon cutting for the program’s beta phase kicks off today with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. It’s a two-day hunting retreat for 10 people with mobility challenges.

What's next: In late spring the foundation plans to launch the full program. People will be able to get certified through the foundation and reserve an ATC at one of the 10 participating state parks.


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