From left to right: Eric Kiefer, Assistant Park Manager, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park; LeAnn Hinson, Park Manager, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park; Juliet Roulhac, Director External Affairs, FPL; Katherine MacGregor, VP Environmental Services, FPL; Gale Butler, Executive Director of Friends of Hugh Taylor Birch; Meredith Rollo, Sustainability & Outreach Manager, Environmental Services, FPL; Kevin Jones, Bureau Chief, District 5, Florida Park Service
A six-person wheelchair accessible electric tram is in service at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park thanks to a substantial grant from Florida Power & Light Company (FPL).
The $22,000 grant to the Florida State Parks Foundation was made available through FPL’s charitable arm, the NextEra Energy Foundation. Last year they also helped fund a similar tram at John. D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach.
“These trams are an amazing asset for our state parks,” said Julia Gill Woodward, Florida State Parks Foundation CEO. “They are a great boost to visitors who use wheelchairs and they are eco-friendly.”
“Our Foundation and the Florida Park Service are committed to making our award-winning state parks more accessible and this new tram will not only lower emissions and be less noisy but will enable our mobility-impaired visitors the opportunity to see much more of the state park’s incredible natural areas.”
The MotoEV Electro Neighborhood Buddy six passenger tram has a four-kw AC motor for less maintenance and more torque to climb tough terrain. It can travel 50 miles on a single charge and costs about one penny a mile. The onboard chargers also allow the vehicle’s batteries to be topped up at any charging stations.
“Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is known as an oasis where Florida residents and visitors can explore the beaches, trails, coastal mangroves and enjoy activities in natural surroundings,” said Kate MacGregor, FPL vice president of environmental services. “FPL is thrilled to donate this tram to help Floridians more easily access this beautiful park in a sustainable way.”
The Florida State Parks Foundation supports the work of Florida’s award-winning 175 state parks and the more than 20,000 volunteers who donate 1.2 million hours of their time annually. Florida’s parks attract 29 million visitors every year and have a statewide economic impact of more than $2.6 billion.