KALISPELL — Thanks to grant funding and community outreach, Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell is one of only two state parks in Montana to receive an Action Trackchair.
The trackchair is an all-terrain wheelchair designed to empower individuals of all abilities to explore the outdoors.
“It’s an all-terrain wheelchair, it’s got tank tracks on it, and it’s made for going off-road,” said Lone Pine State Park Recreation Manager Brian Schwartz.
With five different speeds, a unique seat adjuster for balance and specialized joysticks, the Action Trackchair is hard to miss on the trail.
“This has opened up a whole different opportunity for us which is cool,” said Erin Hoch.
Hoch’s son Jaxen was born with a rare disease called Infantile Pompe, leaving him wheelchair bound from a young age.
The off-road wheelchair gives Erin and Jaxen a chance to hike as a family for the first time.
“We never went because we would have to either figure out how to carry him, all the children’s packs are like only up to 50 pounds and it’s just too much weight to try to figure that out, so this is pretty fantastic.”
Multiple grants provided funding for the wheelchair, including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
“Our job is connecting people with the outdoors, and this is another way to do it,” added Schwartz.
Schwartz said the wheelchair is free to use and open to anyone with a different ability but must be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis.
“Young and old and people who haven’t been able to get out, we have bear spray on the back of the cart, we have a pair of binoculars, it’s been kind of fun putting the whole thing together.”
Erin recommends the trackchair to anyone who loves the outdoors, she’s looking forward to more adventures on the trail with Jaxen.
“I guess freeing is a good word, knowing that even if we can’t hike a harder trail up here or Holland Lake or something like that, we can at least get out with him and do this trail.”
More information on how to reserve the trackchair can be found here.