People with limited mobility can now get out on hiking trails and explore the beach in an all-terrain track wheelchair at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says this will enhance the park’s accessibility for people with disabilities.
“This lady that designed this chair lost her legs and arms because of some disease and she was a mountain climber. And great success with getting people out of their wheelchairs and really giving them some mobility back to be able to get outdoors and enjoy the great outdoors.”
The all-terrain electric-powered chair provides users with the ability to navigate areas of the park not suitable for conventional wheelchairs. Individuals who are unable to operate the chair can have someone else control it. Nungesser says it complements the state’s mission to create more accessibility options for people with disabilities.
“And a percentage of those cabins will have lighting for autism. A dock that folds down so people and fish off the dock. So we’re really going to work hard to make our state parks really welcoming to anyone with special needs.”
Fontainebleau is the first state park in Louisiana to get this all-terrain wheelchair. A playground and cabins are also coming to Fontainebleau and Nungesser hopes to eventually add them to every state park.
“I had one gentleman tell me he said you know finally I can out on the beach there at Fontainbleau with my family, that I used to not be able to go out with them. So it’s going to be a great game-changer for people who are confined to a wheelchair.”
There is no fee to use the chair for anyone at least 16 years old with limited mobility; however, it must be reserved 48 hours in advance.