Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Friends of Indiana Dunes donate all-terrain wheelchair to Dunes State Park

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Disabled folks who want to enjoy the trails at Indiana Dunes State Park (IDSP) will now be able to, thanks to the Friends of Indiana Dunes.

Earlier this month the Friends donated an all-terrain, all-weather motorized wheelchair, which persons may use—free of charge—at the State Park.

“The Friends had a little extra to spend at year’s end and we pitched this larger idea and they accepted it with no questions,” IDSP Interpretive Naturalist Brad Bumgardner told the Chesterton Tribune.

The Friends paid $14,000 for the wheelchair, after getting a “nice deal” from the manufacturer, Innovation in Motion, Bumgardner added.

“The chair should be able to travel most park trails, with the exception of the highest dunes and blowouts and stairs,” Bumgardner said. “It is all-terrain, so roots, downed branches, and sand should not be an issue. Our older wheelchair will remain at the beach for folks to use.”

Those wishing to use it should go to the Nature Center and will be asked to leave a driver’s license as a deposit. Folks will have several hours with the wheelchair but of course only during the Nature Center’s regular business hours.

The wheelchair is available on a first-come, first-serve basis or it may be reserved up to two weeks in advance. Call the Nature Center at (219) 926-1390.

“It is all-weather,” Bumgardner said. “It will spend all year at the Nature Center. It should handle most weather conditions as we can put a bag over the remote so it will be okay in the rain.”

“The Dunes State Park remains one of the most popular state parks in Indiana,” Bumgardner noted. “Long-time visitors often come and reminisce about visiting certain areas that are not accessible to them anymore. This Friends-funded wheelchair will allow them to once again explore up and down the dune trails.”

The Friends of Indiana Dunes has been a very good friend indeed to Dunes State Park. Early in January the Friends donated two brand-new ATVs to the park, to be used for trail maintenance, day-to-day operations, and beach cleanups. Those two new ATVs join a model donated by the Friends several years ago.

 

 

Posted 1/31/2013