Tracked chairs to arrive at state parks this month; media invited to attend
The move to make the great outdoors accessible to everyone is about to take a giant leap forward in Florida. After Friends of Seminole State Forest, Inc. (FSSF) introduced an innovative tracked-chair program for mobility-impaired users in Seminole State Forest this March, two nearby state parks have announced plans to follow suit this fall.
Blue Spring State Park and DeLeon Springs State Park, located in Volusia county and attracting nearly one million visitors annually, will now also offer tracked chair hikes along their trails.
According to George Koutsakis, president of FSSF, “Florida offers its residents and visitors some of the best outdoor weather and some of the most beautiful trail systems in the nation. We are extremely fortunate to have 38 state forests,190 state parks in Florida and the possibility of being able to expand this program to mobility-impaired Floridians and visitors is very exciting.”
The program utilizes ADA-compliant, battery-powered EcoRover Chairs equipped with rubber tracks, like tanks, instead of rubber tires, and are easily controlled with an armrest-mounted joystick. These specially, Florida-built, chairs are designed to navigate almost any type of terrain, no matter how rugged.
Track chair users must be accompanied by a friend or family member to assist with the trip, including transfer into and out of the chair. For those who are unable to use the hand controls, a wired controller can be attached to the EcoRover Chair, allowing another person to guide the chair along the trail. A volunteer acts as a guide and accompanies each tracked chair user, and their guests, along the trail.
While state forest and state park visitors pay a small day-use entrance, or parking fee, use of the Eco Rover Chairs is provided at No Cost to the public. The program is supported entirely through donations and volunteers.
Delivery of the EcoRover tracked chair and trailer to Blue Spring State Park will occur this Thursday, October 26 at 2:00 p.m. Management of the State Park, the Friends of Blue Spring, the Friends of Seminole State Forest, Florida Off Road Adventures, community/business partners and State Representative, Rachel Plakon will commemorate the occasion. The public is welcome to attend.
Delivery of the EcoRover tracked chair and trailer to DeLeon Springs is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 30. The public is welcome to attend the festivities.
Any members of the media who would like to attend the delivery of the chairs to either state park should contact Ashley Arenal at ashley.arenal@
The first tracked chair program in the entire 38 state forest system, and the expansion of that program, has been made possible by donations and the support of community partners including:
- First National Bank of Mount Dora
- Mesara Family Foundation
- Subaru North Orlando
- Orlando Health
- Seminole Power Sport
- Parks Toyota
- Bauer & Associates
- Everglades John Deere
Track chairs at Seminole State Forest are available for morning, or afternoon “hikes” every weekend, (Saturday and Sunday) throughout the year, excluding holidays and during hunts. Trail hikes are typically 2 ½ - 3 hours long. Reservations are required.
Friends of Blue Spring State Park and Friends of DeLeon Springs State Park will offer track chair guided tours Monday through Friday starting as early as 9 a.m.
To view or download images, click here.
About Friends of Seminole State Forest
Friends of Seminole State Forest, LLC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that helps improve the visitor experience of the Seminole State Forest. Friends believes that reconnecting with the wonders and benefits of the outdoors, of nature, has the potential to enrich all our lives. Friends of Seminole State Forest is entirely dependent on volunteers and donations. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, click here.
About Florida Off Road Adventures
Florida Off Road Adventures is a resource hub of information about areas providing mobility-impaired/adaptive outdoor activities. A brief area, and activity, description is provided along with links for additional information and reservations.