More than 50 beach wheelchairs are now available at Florida state parks thanks to the continuing partnership between the Florida State Parks Foundation and the Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation.
The beach wheelchairs can be used in areas with soft sand where conventional wheelchairs would get stuck. They can even be wheeled into shallow waters. Ten coastal parks around the state each received one wheelchair earlier this summer and now another 42 have been delivered to beach parks. Some parks now have two wheelchairs available.
“Increasing accessibility for all is one of our missions and these beach wheelchairs will allow people with mobility problems the opportunity to get on the beach with their family and friends. They will help create a new experience for them,” said Florida State Parks Foundation President Gil Ziffer.
Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation, Inc. is a charitable organization founded by surfing legend Ron DiMenna and his wife Lynne, to recognize the importance of the beach and surfing lifestyle in Florida and protect these beaches for future generations to enjoy. Their focus is on keeping the beaches safe and healthy, by supporting programs and events of other organizations that support beaches and oceans and promote education on beach safety.
“Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation is excited to expand our partnership with the Florida State Parks Foundation to ensure every coastal Florida State Park now has a beach accessible wheelchair. We believe that our beaches should be enjoyed by everyone, and we are so pleased to be able to increase accessibility for people who may not be able to get on the beach without assistance,” said Jacquie Youngs, Foundation Administrator.
“It is our hope that these Sand Rider (sandriderusa.com) beach wheelchairs will be enjoyed by many beach lovers for years to come. To support Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation, and to learn about our Endless Summer® specialty license plate, please visit: www.preservesurfingbeaches.org.”
State parks offering the beach wheelchairs include Amelia Island, Anastasia, Anclote Key, Avalon, Bahia Honda, Bald Point, Big Lagoon, Big Talbot, Bill Baggs Cape Florida, Caladesi Island, Camp Helen, Cayo Costa, Curry Hammock, Deer Lake, Delnor-Wiggins Pass, Don Pedro Island, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson, Egmont Key, Fort Clinch, Fort Pierce Inlet, Fort Zachary Taylor, Gamble Rogers, Gasparilla Island, Grayton Beach, Henderson Beach, Honeymoon Island, Hugh Taylor Birch, John D. MacArthur Beach, John Pennekamp Coral Reef, Lignumvitae Key, Little Talbot Island, Long Key, Lovers Key, Oleta River, North Peninsula, Perdido Key, St. Andrews, St. George Island, St. Joseph Peninsula, St. Lucie Inlet, San Pedro, Sebastian Inlet, Stump Pass, Topsail Hill and Washington Oaks Gardens State Parks.
The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.
The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.