NAVARRE BEACH — Santa Rosa County has rolled out — literally — a new beach access pathway.
County officials unveiled a new 100-foot Mobi-Mat on Friday afternoon at the kayak launch just east of the Sea Oat Pavilion in Navarre Beach Park. The mat, a 5-foot-wide pathway made of recycled plastic, is designed to provide easier access to the beach for people who use wheelchairs or walkers or have other mobility issues.
The mat, which can be rolled up when not in use, can also be used to wheel baby strollers onto the beach. It is also available for pedestrian use, and can accommodate bicycles.
The mat’s permeable construction means that sand can slip through it, keeping the pathway from sinking into the sand, according to its manufacturer, New Jersey-based Deschamps Mat Systems. Also according to the manufacturer, the pathway remains cool in high temperatures to ensure barefoot users’ comfort.
A Navarre resident prompted the county govenrment to purchase the $8,200 mat. Funds came from the county’s Tourist Development Office, according to a county government news release.
“When the board received Navarre resident Tony Alexander’s suggestion to add the Mobi-Mat, we supported it 100 percent,” District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson said in the news release. “It’s exciting to know all visitors to Navarre Beach, regardless of their abilities, will now enjoy the same access to the gulf. This is another example of what makes Santa Rosa County and Navarre such a special place.”