How to use all-terrain wheelchairs in Georgia State Parks

The chairs were made possible thanks to a partnership with the Aimee Copeland Foundation.

ATLANTA – Thanks to new all-terrain wheelchairs, more people can now enjoy all that Georgia state parks have to offer.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the Aimee Copeland Foundation to provide specialty wheelchairs at 10 state parks, historic sites and a wildlife center.

“Eligible park visitors can experience a sense of freedom that can be hard to come by in an everyday wheelchair,” states Georgia State Park’s website. “The chairs can be used for hiking, hunting, fishing and other outdoor educational and recreational activities.”

The initiative was made possible through the efforts of the Foundation.

Aimee Copeland was 24 when she was involved in a zip line incident and was hospitalized. She was also diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis — a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly and destroys tissues under the skin. As a result, the climber, trail running, backpacker turned quadruple amputee. Doctors saved her life, but according to her bio, she lost both her arms and legs in the process.

“Being in a wheelchair has changed my perspective as I now fully appreciate the daily challenges that people with disabilities face. And during my recovery, it became clear that physical barriers are not the only obstacles these people face. People with auditory, visual, cognitive, and behavioral disorders also have unique mental health needs,” Copeland said on her website.

Understanding that people who use wheelchairs are often disconnected from nature due to accessibility issues and mobility limitations, her foundation helped design All Terrain Georgia, a partnership with Georgia’s DNR to get more people outdoors and into the to bring parks.

“We have a vision of an inclusive Georgia where everyone has the opportunity to live and play in their own community,” the website reads.

The all-terrain chairs are available for free rental by eligible users and may be used for other outdoor educational and recreational events sponsored by the Foundation, DNR or other partner organizations.

All-terrain participants must be accompanied by a buddy for safety reasons. Below is a list of locations that have terrain chairs.

Those wishing to become a pre-approved user or All Terrain Chair Buddy/Volunteer can do so on the dedicated website. Pre-certification requirements for use of the chairs can be made here.