Richfield eliminates barriers, offers ATV wheelchairs for park guests

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Jack Reher from Richfield is out for a joy ride with his son — emphasis on the joy.

“It’s a pleasure!  It’s just so fun!  Breathing all the fresh air, seeing the trees, seeing the wildlife,” he said.

He is using one of the city’s new all-terrain wheelchairs at Woodlake Nature Center. 

Richfield is one of the first cities in the metro to offer a chair like this. They also have a smaller, child-size chair. They’re designed like mountain bikes with thick tires and shocks and can be used in all four of Minnesota’s seasons.

Amy Markle, Richfield’s recreation and services director, says some guests are driving all the way across the metro to use the chairs, and one guest drove 100 miles from Willmar.

“Nature is for everybody. Everybody should have the opportunity to engage with nature regardless of a disability or not,” she said.

The combined price tag for Richfield’s two ATV chairs is about $10,000. They were partially paid for with community donations.