DNR Raising Money For All Terrain Wheelchairs

Ben Miller is a high school sophomore with a bubbly, social personality. He loves to be outdoors with his family, but it’s not always possible while visiting Michigan State Parks. Ben has muscular dystrophy, confining him to a wheelchair.

“I can’t go in mud and and sand,” says Ben. “So, I can’t go on the beaches. I can’t go like on trails that have like really bad mud in them. I can’t run over big roots, which is another part of the trail that I can’t go over.”

It’s hard. Ben likes to fish and play in the sand at the beach.

“I can’t really go on the beach, and that’s sad, because I won’t be able to swim in the water or like play on the sand, build sand castles. Stuff  I would like to do with my family, I can’t normally do,” says Ben. “Normally I had to stay on the pavement.”

One trip to Muskegon State Park this summer changed everything for Ben.Ben With Dad, Stephen

“When we were able to use that trackchair over in Muskegon, it was…I don’t know, it was great to be able to watch him do it on his own, it just made a huge difference,” says Ben’s mom, Amy Miller.

Action Trackchair is a wheel chair that can maneuver all terrains. It can go through snow, mud, sand and other places that a traditional wheelchair might not be able to.

“I think the biggest challenge at state parks are trails,” says Amy. “We would take our other kids and we would go on the trails and hiking and when Benjamin came along, and with Benjamin’s disability, the wheelchairs do not go on trails.”

Muskegon State Park is one of seven state parks that has a trackchair available for visitors. People can call in advance to make sure the chair is available at these locations.

“I didn’t even realize that state parks were trying to raise funds for them,” says Amy. “I didn’t even know that at the time. After I got home and I did some more research on the DNR website, I’m like, oh, my gosh, there’s 13 state parks that are trying to raise funds for this.”

She adds, “It was just kind of neat to know that people were out there trying to do it. Although I think it’s just kind of been at a standstill Ben With Mom, Amy

“It was just kind of neat to know that people were out there trying to do it. Although I think it’s just kind of been at a stand still and it’s not very well known,” says Amy.

The trackchairs only became available at some park locations in 2017.

“If we could just get it out there that state parks are trying to get these track chairs for people like Ben, like our family, to get out there and enjoy nature,” says Amy.

Wilson State Park, in Clare County, is one of 17 parks raising money for a trackchair. Wilson has raised $150 out of $14,500.

Anyone can donate money for a trackchair, at participating state parks, by clicking here.