Mark Frankhouse/TSM

 

Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore trails and landscape may be breathtaking, but they can be steep or sandy as well. Such terrain doesn't always allow accessibility to those needing assistance with walking or with disabilities that limit their mobility, but that's all about to change.

Visitors to the picturesque area can now rent a motorized chair with treaded tracks to get around. Friends of  Sleeping Bear Dunes along with park rangers launched the 'Track Chair' program in May that give easier access to those needing assistance. Park goers can rent the chairs at no charge through Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

There are some requirements such as securing your rental at least 3 days in advance, and having a National Park Pass that can be  be obtained at the Visitors’ Center in Empire, the Dune Climb, Pierce Stocking Drive, D.H. Day, or Platte River Campgrounds. Currently the Track Chair is only available for use on the Bay View Trail with hopes of adding additional locations in the future and offering a chair  for children by the end of the summer.

Also as part of the effort to make the beauty of the dunes available to everyone, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore now also has beach wheelchairs available  that can handle the sand with  large wheels that are designed for such surfaces. One adult chair is available at the Maritime Museum with an adult and child wheelchair  both available at the cannery at Glen Haven.

For more information visit Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes for all of the details and rentals.