An all-terrain wheelchair is coming to Wharton State Forest in Burlington County

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It has treads like a military tank, but it will allow people with mobility impairments to experience the great outdoors like never before.

The Track Master S2, an all-terrain wheelchair, will be available at the Wharton State Forest in Burlington County starting this spring.

Batsto Visitor Center is home to a new all-terrain wheelchair that will be available to visitors in spring of 2024. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“This is going to give our visitors, who may have not been able to experience the open air of the outdoors because of potential mobility impairments or just not feeling comfortable walking long distances…an opportunity to be able to experience it,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald, New Jersey State Park Service Administrator.

According to the manufacturer, the Track Master has a top speed of 5.5 miles per hour with an “adventure range” of more than 10 miles based on battery life and terrain.

Currently, the chair is on display at the Batsto Visitor Center within the forest, where it will be based.

An all terrain wheelchair is on display in the visitors center at the The Batsto Visitor Center at Wharton State Forest. It will be available to visitors in spring of 2024. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“Primarily, that is where it will be located because we have the ability to charge it,” said Fitzgerald. “We can leave it in a location, plug it in overnight, and make sure that it has a full charge.”

Officials are “tidying up” policies and procedures for when the chair becomes available for public use.

America’s State Parks Foundation selected Wharton State Forest for a grant from Ford’s Bronco Wild Fund to cover the cost of the chair, which is valued at $23,000.

Wharton State Forest has more than 110 miles of marked trails. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The state may purchase more of the Track Masters for other forests and parks, but Fitzgerald said they will try it out at Wharton State Forest first.

“There are state parks across the country that have started with one or two and have expanded throughout their system,” she said. “The challenge for us will be the funding.”

  • January 2, 2024
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