To celebrate International Day of People with a Disability, all visitors to Dandenong Ranges National Park will now be able to enjoy trails in the park thanks to a motorised all terrain wheelchair – called a TrailRider.
A modified version of a Canadian invention, the motorised TrailRider, was created by Parks Victoria and is the first of its kind in the world. TrailRider all terrain wheelchairs are a cross between a rickshaw and a wheelchair and can handle more rugged bush trails where conventional wheelchairs cannot go. The motor on the chair makes it easier to manoeuvre the chair over rough trail surfaces and makes it easier for visitors with mobility limitations to access steeper and longer trails than ever the before.
“Everyone has the right to enjoy the benefits of being in nature and we want to help everyone to be active in our parks. This is just one way we are making this possible,” said John Kenwright, Community Inclusion Coordinator, Parks Victoria. “The TrailRider really opens up park areas that people with limited mobility may never have been able to see or experience.”
The TrailRider has recently been trialled by a YMCA Recreation camp in the Dandenong Ranges for children with disabilities. Having a TrailRider based in the Dandenong Ranges will make it much easier for the YMCA , other organisations and individuals to regularly access a TrailRider chair to explore parks.
The TrailRider is located at Grants on Sherbrooke café at Grants Picnic Area in Mount Dandenong National Park. It can be booked by calling 03 9755 2888.
- For work on improving access to parks, including making TrailRiders available, Parks Victoria last week won a 2015 National Disability Award.
- TrailRider all terrain wheelchairs are just one of the facilities and programs supported by Parks Victoria to ensure parks are accessible to everyone.
- There are now 11 TrailRider all terrain wheelchairs available to explore Victoria’s park trails.
- Trained volunteers from the Sherpa Volunteer program are available in the Grampians National Park to assist visitors with disabilities to explore the many spectacular park trails using the TrailRider chairs.
- There are now ten child and adult beach wheelchairs available to explore Victoria’s coastal parks.
- Thirty eight of Victoria’s most visited parks now have more comprehensive park access information provided to help visitors plan their park visit and park activities.
- For more information about accessible facilities in Victoria’s parks go to www.parks.vic.gov.au/visit/improving-park-access-for-all