After being diagnosed with a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection following a zipline accident in 2012, Georgia native Aimee Copeland found herself fighting for her life. As the doctors did what they could to save her, they had to amputate both hands, a foot and most of a leg. The road to recovery was a long one, especially since Aimee was an avid outdoor adventurer.
New challenges drove Aimee to find a way to continue enjoying the great outdoors, which led her to create the Aimee Copeland Foundation which works to provide greater access for people with physical challenges.
Recently, the foundation partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to provide free high-mobility all-terrain wheelchairs at 11 state parks, historic sites, and one wildlife center. The initiative encourages people with disabilities to reconnect with nature and history, explore nature trails, go fishing and participate in adapted hunts.
A public unveiling ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. at Panola Mountain State Park, just southeast of Atlanta. Subsequently, all-terrain track chairs will be available at:
- Charlie Elliott Wildlife Centre, Mansfield
- Cloudland Canyon State Park, Trenton
- Don Carter State Park, Lake Lanier
- Red Top Mountain State Park, Lake Allatoona
- Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, Cartersville
- Fort Yargo State Park, Winder
- Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge
- Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge
- Picketts Mill Battlefield Historic Site, Dallas
- Smithgall Woods State Park, Helen
- Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs
All-Terrain Trail Chairs are designed with safety in mind, giving Georgians who otherwise couldn’t navigate more difficult types of terrain, the ability to hit the trails and navigate through mud, water , sand and snow. Eligible park visitors can experience a sense of freedom that can be difficult to have in an everyday wheelchair. Track chairs can be used for hiking, hunting, fishing and other outdoor educational and recreational activities.
“Our mission is to provide outdoor opportunities for every citizen and visitor to Georgia,” said Jeff Cown, Georgia Parks and Historic Sites Director. “I am proud to partner with the Aimee Copeland Foundation to provide access for visitors with mobility or reduced mobility.”
Chairs are provided free of charge to qualifying visitors, including those with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and lower limb amputations. Advance reservations are required and users must have a friend with them at all times.