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A motorized chair is helping people with disabilities navigate Indiana’s state parks

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –  The mobility chair at Mounds State Park is only a couple years old, but it already has as many as 30 users a weekend.

That’s because park staff says most of their trails are not wheelchair accessible. And personal aides are not built to handle mud or uneven terrain.

Mounds Park says before the chair, some visitors with disabilities couldn’t access the park’s 2,000-year-old mounds, its most popular feature.

The chair was funded by the Friends Group at Mounds Park.

“Friends Groups are non profits that work with the state parks that allow them to do individual fundraising that stays on property,” said Kelley Morgan, the park’s Interpretive Naturalist.

DNR’s ADA specialist Ric Edwards told News 8 the program is about making those with mobility issues feel as much like everyone else as possible. 

The mobility chair has given people like cancer survivor and amputee Kim Ousley a sense of independence while enjoying nature.

“They’ll feel more freedom and they’ll feel more like, ‘I can take part in this. I can be with everyone else. I don’t have to be cut off and have to sit here and wait for them to come back from the hike and ask them how it was and what did they talk about.’” said Ousley. “They can take part and be participants in everything.”

The mobility chair is available to rent for free at four Indiana State Parks. They are Pokagon, Chain O’ Lakes, Charlestown and Mounds. 

Reservations are suggested but not required. All you need is idenftication and a desire to hit the trails. 

For more information about Friends Groups, click here.  For more information about the mobility chair, head here