Minas Gerais Agency | Minas Gerais parks promote inclusion through adapted chairs

Minas Gerais Agency | Minas Gerais parks promote inclusion through adapted chairs
Minas Gerais Agency | Minas Gerais parks promote inclusion through adapted chairs
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Walk trails, have access to waterfalls or watch the sunset at the top of the Gerais mountains. Aware that this connection with nature is everyone’s right, the Government of Minas Gerais invests in equipment to make state parks increasingly inclusive. Since November 2023, People with Disabilities (PWD) and reduced mobility have access to adapted wheelchairs to move around within 18 conservation units in the state.

The acquisition aims to ensure that all citizens in Minas Gerais, regardless of their physical limitations, can enjoy the natural beauty and experiences that state parks have to offer.

The chairs, Julietti and amphibious, were acquired by the State Forestry Institute (IEF), through a parliamentary amendment received by the State Department of Culture (Secult) in the amount of R$ 120 thousand.

The equipment is present in conservation units of great tourist attraction, such as the parks of Rio Doce, Rola-Moça, Biribiri, and the Serra da Piedade State Natural Monument, among others (see list).

The 18 chairs are adapted to allow access to uneven and mountainous terrain, and were developed especially so that PWD can carry out activities in these places, such as mountaineering.

“People with Disabilities (PWD) have the right to tourism and leisure on equal opportunities with other people. It is up to the public administration to develop strategies to ensure that this right is fulfilled. Thus, this initiative not only promotes inclusion, but also raises awareness about the importance of accessibility and preservation. The more people have this connection with protected areas, the greater the population’s environmental awareness”, comments the general director of the IEF, Breno Lasmar.

At Parque do Ibitipoca, the acquisition of chairs came through a charity dinner held by the park administration and residents of the region. Currently, there are two chairs available in the unit and People with Disabilities travel to the main points, such as the Janela do Céu viewpoint.

Experience

In March, Rola-Moça State Park gained attention on social media after the artist Bianca Azevedo, who has a disability, debuted the Julietti chair and enjoyed the park’s attractions. The experience was posted on the artist’s social networks.

“With the help of a group of hikers, who support these people so they can live new experiences, Bianca went to the Três Pedras viewpoint, in Alto do Parque, and walked two kilometers to the Pitangueiras waterfall, and then returned to the park headquarters. With the chair it is possible to take the walk at the bottom of Rola-Moça, where it is flatter and calmer. With the help of this group, she was able to go further with the chair and it was fantastic”, comments the manager of Parque Rola Moça, Henri Collet.

Warley Gomes de Oliveira is one of the hikers who helped Bianca on this trip. He says he is part of this group and always wants to include someone on the trails he takes.

“This chair in our Serra do Rola-Moça is a great achievement, as it is very practical for us to include on light trails. Two people can cross it easily,” she says.

Regarding the experience with Bianca, he says that the comfort of the chair made a difference. “It was a surreal energy.”

“It was an experience I never imagined I would have. I loved it,” said Bianca.

Economic opportunity

In addition to guaranteeing rights, the inclusion of this public also constitutes a great economic opportunity, according to IEF estimates. According to data from ICMBio, more than 1 million annual visits by people with disabilities could be added to the approximately 15 million already registered annually in federal conservation units.

According to the World Tourism Organization, the public seeking accessible destinations now reaches 12% of the population in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

In the USA, one of the world’s references in promoting accessibility, it is estimated that consumption by visitors with disabilities is in the order of US$ 129 per day, and accessible tourism has the potential to generate US$ 3.6 billion in annual revenue in American parks, as released by the Semeia Institute.

Check out Conservation Units that have adapted chairs:

  • Itacolomi State Park (Ouro Preto and Mariana);
  • Serra do Rola Moça State Park (Belo Horizonte, Brumadinho, Ibirité, Nova Lima);
  • Mata do Limoeiro State Park (Itabira);
  • Água Limpa Ecological Station (Cataguases);
  • Rio Preto State Park (São Gonçalo do Rio Preto);
  • Pico do Itambé State Park (Santo Antônio do Itambé, Serro and Serra Azul de Minas);
  • Lapa Grande State Park (Montes Claros);
  • Rio Doce State Park (Marliéria, Dionísio, Timóteo);
  • Pau Furado State Park (Araguari and Uberlândia);
  • Biribiri State Park (Diamantina);
  • Serra do Brigadeiro State Park (Araponga, Divino, Ervália, Fervedouro, Miradouro, Muriaé, Pedra Bonita, Sericita);
  • Nova Baden State Park (Lambari);
  • Baleia State Park (Belo Horizonte);
  • Serra do Papagaio State Park (Alagoa, Aiuruoca, Baependi, Itamonte, Pouso Alto);
  • Grão Mogol State Park (Grao Mogol);
  • Serra Nova and Talhado State Park (Rio Pardo de Minas, Serranópolis de Minas, Mato Verde, Porteirinha, Riacho dos Machados);
  • Serra da Piedade State Natural Monument (Caeté);
  • Serra Verde State Park (Belo Horizonte);
  • Ibitipoca State Park (Lima Duarte) – own resources.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Minas Gerais Agency Minas Gerais parks promote inclusion adapted chairs

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