Published 10/03/2017 at 4:37 AM PDT – Updated 10/03/2017 at 4:57 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Cannon Beach will now join two other towns on the north Oregon coast as the only three to have special beach wheelchairs for those with mobility issues. Like Seaside and Manzanita, Cannon Beach will offer them for free.
It all starts in Cannon Beach as of October, where they take the accessibility of Oregon’s beaches to a new level. Beach wheelchairs will be available for visitors with mobility challenges, which can be reserved by calling (503) 436-2811 or emailing email@example.com. The Cannon Beach Police Department will facilitate the free check out and return process for the wheelchairs on the east side of the Cannon Beach City Hall building.
These are wheelchairs with unusually fat tires that can ride on the sand – tires that clock in at four to five inches wide.
You can also leave your existing wheelchair with the police department as you venture out on the fat tire model.
The program is a cooperative effort between the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) and the City of Cannon Beach that was made possible by donations from several local individuals and businesses interested in accessibility for all to local natural areas. Among them: Alaina Giguiere of RE/MAX Coastal Advantage; Ryan Snyder, president of Martin North; and Cannon Beach Chamber Director Court Carrier and his wife Kathy all contributed to get the program started with its first chair. Additional donations have recently made it possible to order a second chair and contributions are being accepted to not only fund future chairs, but to also obtain interchangeable cushioning to make the chairs an option for children.
The primary goal of the wheelchair program is to make sure all children have the chance to participate in educational programs presented by the Haystack Rock Awareness Program. Pooka Rice, the Outreach Coordinator with HRAP said these learning opportunities around the town’s famed Haystack Rock are priceless.
“[It’s] a classroom unlike any other and yet there is a section of our population we see perpetually excluded,” she said. “The wheelchair program will simultaneously address the needs of our aging community as well as the school students who have historically been left out of the experience of participation in field trips to Haystack Rock.”
There is more fundraising happening right now to acquire additional wheelchairs, along with the interchangeable cushioning and future self-checkout lockers to be located at the Gower Street and Tolovana Wayside beach access points. Those interested in donating may contact the Haystack Rock Awareness Program at (503) 436-8060 or the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce at (503) 436-2623. Where to stay in this area – Where to eat – Maps and Virtual Tours
Manzanita acquired their own adaptive wheelchairs in recent years as well: two for adults and one for a child. These too are the fat-tired models which can glide along the sand. Chairs are available to check out at Manzanita City Hall, Monday through Friday. To check one out or inquire about availability, call Manzanita City Hall at (503) 368-5343 during business hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Seaside also has free beach wheelchairs which can be reserved at www.seasideor.com. Seaside was apparently the first on the Oregon coast to do so nearly a decade ago.