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WHEELCHAIRS IN THE WILDS?

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Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has introduced a bill to allow wheelchairs in wilderness areas - and end what he says is a form of discrimination against the disabled.

The 1964 Wilderness Act prohibited the use of motorized vehicles or any other form of mechanical transportation in wilderness areas - and wheelchairs were considered mechanized travel.Hansen said, "There are many individuals who are confined to wheelchairs because of injuries sustained in defending their country. What gives us the right to tell them they can't enjoy the lands they've sacrificed so much to keep free?"

Hansen said he timed introduction of the bill to coincide with House consideration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which seeks to end discrimination against the disabled in housing, employment, transportation and building access. The Senate has already passed the bill.