How a New Track Chair Program Is Making This National Park More Accessible Than Ever

Aug 11, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There are plenty of stressful factors that go into travel. And for people with disabilities, the difficulties of travel rarely end when they leave the airport.

But this summer, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, in Michigan, introduced a track-chair program to help people with limited mobility explore the seashore’s steep, sandy trails.

“We’re able to offer that ‘off the road experience’ … and give people a new opportunity to experience nature …” Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes representative Jeanne Esch told Travel + Leisure magazine earlier this month.

Launched in May by the volunteer group Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, the chair has wide, treaded tracks, rather than wheels, making it possible for travelers to explore the stunning landscape without altering or damaging the park. It’s free to reserve for travelers who genuinely require assistance, and have purchased a park pass. The group claims it’s the first program of its kind at a national park. (Staunton State Park, in Colorado, has been offering free track-chairs to make a trio of trails more accessible since May 2017.)

At this time, there’s only one track chair at Sleeping Bear Dunes, and it’s only available on the 8-mile-long Bay View Trail. According to CNN, the group is planning to purchase another chair designed specifically for children.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes
“It is my hope that track chairs will become available at many more state and national parks through the shared commitment of nonprofit organizations, businesses and governments,” John Morris, founder of, told TPG in an email. “Track chairs are being used by visitors of all ages to discover areas that were previously inaccessible to wheelchair users,” Morris said.

While track-chair programs are a rarity, many state and national parks, and national monuments and attractions, are wheelchair accessible. Attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the Space Needle all offer accessibility options for people with disabilities. And many parks have wheelchair-accessible paths and lawns — but those are limited.

“As communities recognize the increased demand for accessible travel opportunities, they will develop programs like these to attract new travelers with disabilities,” Morris said.

In addition to the track-chair program, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has been actively working to make other areas of the park more accessible to all travelers, including hard decks and walkways; an accessible kayak launch; and a 20-mile multiuse trail currently in development, CNN reported.

Feature photo by csterken / GettyImages.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.