Cannon Beach will soon have beach-accessible wheelchairs so visitors with mobility challenges can enjoy the sand and the surf.
“It’s making our beach, which is free for everyone, free for everyone,” said Pooka Rice, outreach coordinator for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach. “It’s very exciting.”
The Cannon Beach Police Department will oversee the checkout and return process of the wheelchairs. The chairs will be available on the east side of the city hall building and are free to use. They can be reserved and visitors can leave their regular wheelchairs at the Police Department.
“People didn’t even know something like this existed,” Dan Haag said. Haag is the manager of the visitor’s center in nearby Manzanita. “And the reaction is joy just to be able to get down to the beach.”
In Manzanita, they’ve had free beach wheelchairs available for nearly 10 years, said Haag. “We’re happy that our partners up in Cannon Beach are providing this for people so when we don’t have them available, we know where to send people.”
Court Carrier, the executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, hopes that wheelchairs will soon be available throughout Oregon’s entire coast.
“We know there’s a lot of other people that have begun doing this,” said Carrier. “And we hope to help spread this idea up and down the entire coast so that everyone makes it their mission to have an accessible beach.”
Cannon Beach currently has two wheelchairs, valued at $2,500 each. The funds for those chairs were privately donated.
The goal is to have 4 or 5 wheelchairs and some specialized walkers available so everyone can enjoy the beach. Fundraising is currently ongoing and anyone interested in making a donation should contact the Haystack Rock Awareness Program or the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce.