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Ability Outdoors

Check Out Eau Claire’s New Beach-Friendly Wheelchairs

beachy-keen new addition to Eau Claire parks enables everyone to check out the beauty of local beaches this summer

Elana Dresen |

A BEACHY-KEEN NEW ADDITION. Beach wheelchairs, available at a handful of Eau Claire County parks, allow people who use wheelchairs to easily navigate the tough, sandy terrains. (Submitted photo)
A BEACHY-KEEN NEW ADDITION. Beach wheelchairs, available at a handful of Eau Claire County parks, allow people who use wheelchairs to easily navigate the tough, sandy terrains. (Submitted photo)

Eau Claire County beaches are looking a little more beachy-keen with the addition of new beach-accessible wheelchairs, thanks to funding from the Eau Claire County Aging & Disability Resource Center. Two chairs have been added to the items available for use at Eau Claire County parks – one at Coon Fork County Park and one at Lake Altoona Park. These wheelchairs allow users to more easily traverse those parks’ sandy beaches.

“The need for the chairs was brought on by reviewing our existing access for our beach areas,” said Josh Pedersen, Eau Claire County parks, recreation, and forestry director. “Previously at Coon Fork, we had a wooden boardwalk that went down through the beach to the water. This was difficult to maintain and was falling apart. We needed to remove this, as it was breaking apart. Rather than installing another wooden walkway, we started to look for other alternatives, and the beach chair was deemed as the best alternative.”

The chairs are free to use, although a $5 refundable deposit is required. The chairs are designed for sand and water use. Users are encouraged to call ahead to ensure the chairs are available. The chairs are rated with a 350-pound weight limit.

This is the first of many efforts to make Eau Claire County parks more accessible, with the hope to add more of the chairs at other beaches based on demand, Pedersen said.

The Eau Claire County Parks & Forest Department can be reached at (715) 839-4783.