The County of Humboldt has completed the installation of a beach access mat along the beach access corridor at the northern parking lot of Clam Beach County Park, and the mat is now open for public use.
The beach access mat allows individuals with disabilities to travel from the accessible parking lot to the high tide line of the beach. With the installation of the beach access mat, it is believed that Clam Beach County Park is now the northern most accessible beach in California.
“It is incredibly important that we as the county provide accessible public spaces, and I couldn’t be more proud that this project is ready for use,” said Fifth District Supervisor and Chair of the Board Steve Madrone. “It took years to research and install this beach mat, and seek and respond to public feedback, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their work to bring this project to fruition. The result of that work will allow all Humboldt County residents and visitors to experience Clam Beach County Park, which is such a gem within the state.”
This project is a part of the county’s continued efforts to provide recreational access for all users to the greatest extent possible and bring all county-owned and leased facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Humboldt County Administrative Office’s ADA Compliance Team and the Humboldt County Department of Public Works’ Environmental Services Division coordinated these efforts with several oversight agencies, including California State Parks, the California Coastal Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, to ensure natural resources in and around the coastal project area were protected while providing improved beach access to beach visitors.
About the Accessibility Mat
The mat consists of a series of removable and adjustable woven polyester segments designed in a way that allows for accumulated sand to sift through the mat surface. A removable access mat design was selected for use at Clam Beach in an effort to reduce environmental and aesthetic impacts and to provide more flexibility for adjustments in response to changing environmental conditions. The beach mat is five feet wide, and its length will vary between approximately 400 to 500 feet based on the environmental conditions at Clam Beach. The mat will require ongoing maintenance and adjustments to account for high tides and blowing sands.
The mat provides users of commonly used mobility devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and crutches, the ability to travel from the northern parking lot at Clam Beach County Park through the established trail corridor to the high tide line. The mat is also designed to allow horses and emergency vehicles to cross and travel.
“Tri-County Independent Living (TCIL) was excited to try out the mats during a public comment and demonstration day back in February of 2022,” said TCIL Assistive Technology Coordinator Juliannah Harris, who is low vision. “The uneven terrain of typical beaches makes me fall. For the first time ever, I felt secure and safe independently walking on the beach. This unique mat system will really benefit the disability community. Tri-County Independent Living is very pleased to see this transformational project move forward to completion and looks forward to future inclusive projects in Humboldt County.”
This project is an example of the County of Humboldt’s commitment toward providing equal access to all county programs, services, and activities regardless of an individual’s ability. Please visit humboldtgov.org/ADA to learn more.
Beach Access Mat at Clam Beach County Park