Standard wheelchairs can’t cope with rugged terrain, which means many parts of Victoria’s parks have been out of bounds to people with limited mobility. Now people visiting many of our parks can book a lightweight, single-wheeled, all-terrain wheelchair with a cushioned seat known as the TrailRider. Apart from large steps, the TrailRider can go across most rough ground. Someone who is fit and able to operate the chair must accompany the chair user. An electric motor helps with steep climbs.

Volunteer ‘sherpas’ are now available at parks in the Grampians and Dandenong Ranges. The sherpas have been trained in the use of the wheelchair, and can help people with limited mobility explore the natural bushland in the parks, acting as guides as well.

A first time user of the program, Disability Advocate Karen Fankhauser, said the program offered freedom.

"It means I can actually experience bushwalking and that’s something you can’t do in a normal chair".
Karen Fankhauser, Disability Advocate.

The TrailRiders are free to use, but should be pre-booked. The sherpa service is also free, and needs to be booked at least a week in advance.

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Category: Stories, Community
Tags: Parks