The Haystack Rock Awareness Program is wrapping up a successful beach season, in part thanks to a new, big red truck.
The truck “hauls a trailer with everything” staff and volunteers need for the beach, including signs, brochures and bird-watching telescopes, said Melissa Keyser, the program’s interim coordinator.
Volunteers utilize the tools to educate the public about Haystack Rock and help protect its marine garden environment.
The group purchased the Ford 250 in March because its old truck would often break down, canceling beach time, Keyser said.
The new truck was specifically chosen because it sits higher off the ground and has an enclosed engine, preventing salt water and sand from spraying into it.
“It just made more sense cost-wise to buy a new truck,” Keyser said.
Friends of Haystack Rock Chair Stacy Benefield said the final cost was $29,425. The truck was purchased from Northside Ford in Portland. The city provided $13,000, Friends raised about $2,675 during weekend beach shifts and the Oregon Community Foundation granted the group $13,750. That money came from the late Gainor Minott’s endowment fund.
Friends of Haystack Rock Treasurer Barb Knop said the money’s source was “very fitting” as Minott was “dedicated to the environment and education,” having served on the Seaside School District 10 Board of Directors at one point.
“She was a longtime resident of Cannon Beach,” Benefield said. “She loved Cannon Beach and she loved Haystack Rock.”
She added that Friends of Haystack Rock board members worked hard on the grant and are “just thrilled to be able to help them get the truck they desperately needed to do what they do on the beach.”
“The truck is integral to the program,” she added. “They can take their classroom to the beach. It’s the program in a trailer.”
Later this month, staff will unload trailer items. Sept. 27 has been marked on the calendar as the truck’s last day out.
It’ll be stored at Public Works over the winter. Benefield noted city staff will occasionally drive it so it doesn’t just sit. Maintenance money comes out of the Haystack Rock Awareness Program’s general budget.
The truck will be back on the beach early next year, used “every day during low tide, daytime hours” when weather permits from February to September, Keyser said.
“It’s allowed us to have a more successful season,” she added. “We’ve been able to reach more people because we have a truck that works.”