At our May board meeting we received a request to replace a beach wheelchair for Half Moon Bay State Beach, as one of the two chairs currently in service is beyond repair and the company has since ceased to operate. It really wasn’t a hard decision and by unanimous vote the board approved the purchase of two new beach wheelchairs for Half Moon Bay’s Francis Beach.
Supervising Ranger, Barbara Morris, is really passionate about this program. “There have been situations where a quadriplegic mom was able to enjoy the beach with her children, children who had disabilities could visit the beach, older visitors who could not get down to the beach are able to enjoy going to a family member’s wedding or just enjoy sitting on the sand.”
Of the two wheelchairs, one is available first-come, first-serve, whereas the second may be reserved in advance. If there are no reservations on a day, then both will be available for whoever comes in.
Barbara continues, “I’ve had people say that it had been 30+ years since they had been on a beach because of their mobility problems and that they never thought they’d be able to go on a beach again. There are also people at the end of their lives, who have been able to go on the beach one last time. Talking about the beach wheelchairs always makes me emotional, because it is such an emotional experience for our visitors who have a harder time connecting with the beaches”.
Reviewing the world-wide-web for additional information, I was very pleased to see that over 100 beaches in California offer beach wheelchairs. The Coastal Commission has a webpage https://www.coastal.ca.gov/access/beach-wheelchairs.html with information about the parks that offer beach wheelchairs and reservations for them. For the parks in our area, Francis Beach may be reached at (650) 726-8820 or (650) 726-8819 and Año Nuevo State Park at (650) 879-2025.
Thank you for your support to make California State Parks on the San Mateo County Coast accessible to everyone.