"Salt marsh on Toms Cove" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Assateague Island

National Seashore - MD, VA

Assateague Island National Seashore is a protected area on a long barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It’s known for its Atlantic beaches and for trails that wind through marshland, dunes and pine forest. In the south, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is home to wild Chincoteague ponies, bald eagles and migratory seabirds. Near Toms Cove is the working, 19th-century Assateague Lighthouse.

maps

Official visitor map of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Assateague Island - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

Brochure for Planning Your Visit of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Plan Your Visit - Planning Your Visit

Brochure for Planning Your Visit of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure for Over-Sand Vehicle Use Regulation in Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Plan Your Visit - Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) Use

Brochure for Over-Sand Vehicle Use Regulation in Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure for Backcountry Camping in Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Plan Your Visit - Backcountry Camping

Brochure for Backcountry Camping in Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Crabbing at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Activities - Crabbing at Assateague - Maryland

Brochure about Crabbing at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Crabbing at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Activities - Crabbing at Assateague - Virginia

Brochure about Crabbing at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Horseback Riding at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Activities - Horseback Riding

Brochure about Horseback Riding at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Beach and Surf Safety at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Activities - Beach and Surf Safety

Brochure about Beach and Surf Safety at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about The Life of the Dunes Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Trail Guides - Life of the Dunes trail guide

Brochure about The Life of the Dunes Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about The Life of the Forest Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Trail Guides - Life of the Forest trail guide

Brochure about The Life of the Forest Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about The Life of the Marsh Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Trail Guides - Life of the Marsh trail guide

Brochure about The Life of the Marsh Nature Trail at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about The Wild Horses of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Nature & Science - Wild Horses

Brochure about The Wild Horses of Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about George Washington and the Barrier Island Sheep at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Nature & Science - Barrier Island Sheep

Brochure about George Washington and the Barrier Island Sheep at Assateague Island National Seashore (NS) in Maryland and Virginia. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assateague_Island_National_Seashore Assateague Island National Seashore is a protected area on a long barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It’s known for its Atlantic beaches and for trails that wind through marshland, dunes and pine forest. In the south, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is home to wild Chincoteague ponies, bald eagles and migratory seabirds. Near Toms Cove is the working, 19th-century Assateague Lighthouse. Want to live on the edge? Visit a place recreated each day by ocean wind and waves. Life on Assateague Island has adapted to an existence on the move. Explore sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Rest, relax, recreate and enjoy some time on the edge of the continent. There are two entrances to Assateague Island National Seashore. Assateague's north entrance is at the end of Route 611, eight miles south of Ocean City, MD. The south entrance is at the end of Route 175, two miles east of Chincoteague, VA. There is no vehicle access between the two entrances on Assateague Island. Vehicles must return to the mainland to access either the north or south entrance. Assateague Island Visitor Center The Assateague Island Visitor Center is located in the Maryland District of Assateague Island before the Verrazzano Bridge entrance into the park. As of June 12, 2021 the Assateague Island Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am - 4 pm. The Assateague Island Visitor Center is located in the Maryland District of Assateague Island on the southern side of Route 611, before the Verrazzano Bridge entrance into the park. Maryland District Ranger Contact Station & Campground Office Offers campground information and registration, backcountry camping permits, hunting information, entrance passes and over-sand vehicle permits. Located at the eastern terminus of Route 611, eight miles south of Ocean City, MD. The Ranger Station/Campground office is in the Maryland District of Assateague Island on west side of Bayberry Drive, after the entrance station. Toms Cove Visitor Center The Toms Cove Visitor Center is located in the Virginia District within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Virginia District entrance is at the end of Route 175, two miles east of Chincoteague, VA. The Toms Cove Visitor Center is located on the south side of Beach Road, prior to the beach parking areas. Back Country Camping - Green Run Bayside back country site Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Acces Green Run Campsite Green Run Campsite Green Run Campsite Green Run Restroom Green Run Restroom Green Run Restroom View of Green Run from the Water View of Green Run from the Water View of Green Run from the Water Green Run Dock Green Run Dock Green Run Dock Back Country Camping - Little Levels Back Country Camping, bayside Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Little Levels Campsite Little Levels Campsite Little Levels Campsite Little Levels Restroom Little Levels Restroom Little Levels Restroom Little Levels Sign Little Levels Sign Little Levels Sign Back Country Camping - Pine Tree Bay side back country campsite Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Pine Tree Campsite Pine Tree Campsite Pine Tree Campsite Pine Tree Restroom Pine Tree Restroom Pine Tree Restroom Pine Tree Access Road Pine Tree Access Road Pine Tree Access Road View of Pine Tree from water View of Pine Tree from water View of Pine Tree from water Back Country Camping - Pope Bay Bay side back country campsite Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted http://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Pope Bay Campsite Pope Bay Campsite Pope Bay Campsite View of Pope Bay From Water View of Pope Bay From Water View of Pope Bay From Water Pope Bay Access Road Pope Bay Access Road Pope Bay Access Road Pope Bay Dock Pope Bay Dock Pope Bay Dock Back Country Camping - State Line Back Country Camping; ocean side Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. State Line Sandy Campsite State Line Sandy Campsite State Line Sandy Campsite State Line Grassy Campsite State Line Grassy Campsite State Line Grassy Campsite State Line Sign State Line Sign State Line Sign Back Country Camping - Tingles Island Bayside back country site Back Country Camping Permit 10.00 Fee for back country camping. Permit may be obtained for up to 7 days per trip on a first come/first serve basis on the day of departure. Permits may be obtained at the Maryland District Ranger Station or the Tom's Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Fee is per person for everyone over 16 years of age. No reservations are accepted. Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Tingles Island Campsite Tingles Island Campsite Tingles Island Campsite Bay side drive in campground - Loop A Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15. All sites are First Come/First Serve from November 16 through March 14. Camping Fee 30.00 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Bayside Loop A Site Bayside Loop A Site Bayside Loop A Site Bayside Loop A Paved Sites Bayside Loop A Paved Sites Bayside Loop A Paved Sites Bayside Loop A Site grassy Bayside Loop A Site grassy Bayside Loop A Site grassy Bay side drive in campground - Loop B (no generators allowed) Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15. All sites are First Come/First Serve from November 16 through March 14. Camping fee 30.00 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Bayside Loop B Grassy Site Bayside Loop B Grassy Site Bayside Loop B Grassy Site Bayside Loop B Site Bayside Loop B Site Bayside Loop B Site Bayside Loop B Site with Trees Bayside Loop B Site with Trees Bayside Loop B Site with Trees Bay side drive in campground - Loop C Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15. All sites are First Come/First Serve from November 16 through March 14. camping fee 30.00 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Bayside Loop C Site Bayside Loop C Site Bayside Loop C Site Bayside Loop C site with trees Bayside Loop C site with trees Bayside Loop C site with trees Bayside Loop C grassy site Bayside Loop C grassy site Bayside Loop C grassy site Horse camping Campground accessible for horses and riders to camp overnight Camping fee 50.00 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $50 per night. Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Horse Camp Site A Horse Camp Site A Horse Camp Site A Horse Camp Site B Horse Camp Site B Horse Camp Site B Horse Camp Horse Camp Horse Camp Ocean side drive in campground - Loop 1 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15. All sites are First Come/First Serve from November 16 through March 14. Camping fee 30.00 $30.00 per night $15.00 per night with an IA Senior Pass or an IA Access Pass IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 $15.00 per night with an IA Senior Pass or an IA Access Pass Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Drive-in site at Oceanside Loop 1 Drive-in site at Oceanside Loop 1 Drive-in site at Oceanside Loop 1 Drive-in at Oceanside Loop 1 grassy Drive-in at Oceanside Loop 1 grassy Drive-in at Oceanside Loop 1 grassy Ocean side drive in campground - Loop 2 Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15. All sites are First Come/First Serve from November 16 through March 14. Camping fee 30.00 RV and Tent sites IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Sandy site Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Sandy site Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Sandy site Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Grassy Site Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Grassy Site Drive-in Oceanside Loop 2 Grassy Site Oceanside Group Campground Organized clubs and affiliated groups must use group campsites. Tent-only sites, located 100-200 feet from centralized parking area. Sites have a picnic table and fire ring with grill. Group campsites can be reserved year round, up to 6 months in advance at $50 per night per site. 7 minimum - 25 maximum campers per site. Group Camping Fee 50.00 $50.00 per night Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. Group Site 1 Group Site 1 Group Site 1 Group Site 2 Group Site 2 Group Site 2 Group Site 3 Group Site 3 Group Site 3 Group Site 4 Group Site 4 Group Site 4 Group Site 5 Group Site 5 Group Site 5 Walk in campground - Walk in 1 Tent only sites. Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Walk-in sites are open March 15 - November 15 and reservations are required. Reservations may be made at recreation.gov Camping Fee 30.00 Tents only. Open seasonally from March 15 through November 15. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset Oceanside Walk-in site Oceanside walk-in site Oceanside Walk-in site Walk-in site Walk-in site Walk-in site Oceanside Walk-in site Oceanside walk-in site Oceanside Walk-in site Walk in campground - Walk in 2 Tent only sites. Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. Walk-in sites are open March 15 - November 15 and reservations are required. Reservations may be made at recreation.gov Camping Fee 30.00 Tents only. Open seasonally from March 15 through November 15. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset Walk in campground - Walk in 3 Tents only. Walk-in sites are open March 15 - November 15 and reservations are required. Reservations may be made at recreation.gov. Camping Fee 30.00 Tent only sites. Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are $30 per night. IA Senior Pass or IA Access Pass camping fee 15.00 IA Senior Pass and IA Access pass discount Vehicle Entrance Fee 25.00 All vehicles are subject to an entrance fee. Entrance fee is valid for 1-7 days for reentry into the park. Current Assateague Pass, IA-Annual Pass, IA-Senior Pass, IA-Access Pass. IA-4th Grade, IA-Military Pass, IA Golden Age Passport and IA-Golden Access Passport are valid for entry. A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset A Walk-in Site at Sunset Wild Horses on the dunes at Assateague Wild horses on the dunes at Assateague There are few places in the United States where you can view wild horses.Take advantage of the opportunity to view these horses in a natural habitat. Wild horses in the salt marshes on Assateague Island Wild horses in the salt marshes on Assateague Island Assateague's wild horses can often be found grazing in salt marshes. Tree Swallows Migrating along Assateague Tree Swallows migrating along the beach at Assateague Enormous flocks of migrating tree swallows stop and rest on Assateague beaches in the fall. Camping at Assateague tents and vehicle in the oceanside campground dunes Tent camping in the Oceanside campground at Assateague is a great way to relax and recreate at the beach. Waves on Assateague beach waves on Assateague beach with people fishing in the background Visit the shifting sands at the water's edge where thousands of waves change the beach every day. 2012 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2012 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Shark Awareness Before heading into the ocean, review some safety information to further minimize the chances of a shark encounter. Shark and fish in the blue ocean waters Protecting Coastal Treasures from Future Floods Protecting coastal treasures like lighthouses, forts, and statues requires an understanding of the precise location of these resources. New elevation markers will help the National Park Service continue to protect coastal parks threatened by flooding and sea level rise. Two men use tools to install elevation markers in sandy soil. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development] coastal dunes with grass cover Crystal Clear: Restoring the Salt Marsh at Assateague Island Over 87 miles of ditches created during a 1930s-era effort to control mosquitoes have damaged the island’s salt marsh. The National Park Service is restoring the natural wetlands function of the salt marsh by filling the ditches with sand and replanting with native vegetation. Five hundred thirty acres are targeted for additional restoration adjacent to the only old-growth forest on the island, an area identified by the park as a priority zone for a proposed wilderness area. Salt marsh on Toms Cove, overlooking the Coast Guard Station and boathouse Studying Shifting Shorelines at Northeast Coastal Parks Coastal national parks have long been a living laboratory for shoreline scientists to study how storms and other processes like erosion and littoral drift affect the coast and the structures perched along the water. Learn more about the science of shifting shorelines. View of beach and dunes. Mapping Underwater Habitats With so much diversity and value in underwater habitats, it’s no wonder the National Park Service undertook a multi-park effort to map the relatively uncharted shallow waters in and around coastal national parks in the Northeast. Learn more and see what lies beneath. A woman leans over the edge of a boat with a submerged habitat mapping tool. Studying Salt Marsh Change A marsh resiliency model was developed to help managers protect salt marshes at coastal parks in the Northeast. Jamaica Bay at sunset. Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network Species Spotlight: Peregrine Falcon The fall migration of peregrine falcons through Assateague Island National Seashore provides scientists with an ideal location to conduct long-term research on these birds of prey, the fastest bird on earth. The study looks at natural history aspects of peregrines, including global contaminant issues, emerging pathogens and genetics, and is now one of the longest-running studies of peregrine falcons in the Americas. A peregrine falcon spreads its wings and takes flight off a sandy beach. 2014 Sea Turtle Annual Report Cape Hatteras 2014 annual report on sea turtle monitoring at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Green sea turtle returning to sea after laying her eggs. Natural Parking Lots at Assateague Island National Seashore Park managers at Assateague Island National Seashore replaced asphalt parking lots with clay and clam shells to reduce damage to beaches and park resources from asphalt during overwash events. A view of Assateague Island National Seashore Assateague Island Movable Visitor Facilities Assateague Island National Seashore transitioned to portable infrastructure that can be moved to a less vulnerable location before intense storms hit. Assateauge Island National Seashore pier looking out on the water. Movable Restrooms at Assateague Island National Seashore After Sandy, National Parks get storm-ready: Park scientists muster elevation data and enhance information systems to prepare for future storms Dr. Peter August, a University of Rhode Island professor who specializes in GIS, has collaborated with the National Park Service (NPS) for over 20 years. After Hurricane Sandy, August led the team that created the very first bytes of GIS data for several National Parks in the northeast coastal region. They gathered essential elevation data and established a data management system so that coastal parks will be better prepared for future storms. August uses laser rangefinder to determine the distance to an object in the field. Sounding Seafloor Habitats: Researchers use sonar to map the underwater resources of four National Parks Researchers, including Monique LaFrance, take part in a landmark mission in four coastal National Parks to map thousands of acres of underwater habitats that have never been surveyed. Together, the four habitat-mapping teams will create maps to help coastal parks in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland better prepare for damaging storms and sea level rise. researcher with equipment aboard a research vessel Changing Landscapes on Assateague Island The effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and intensifying storms, will alter the landscape at Assateague Island National Seashore and affect the access and experience that visitors enjoy today. Park staff are working to adapt, restore, and protect island resources. Three horses standing in dune grass National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate. Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map Mammal Teeth Learn about mammals' tooth morphology. Complete an activity about horse teeth, from examples at Assateague Island National Seashore. Line drawing of horse skull Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network Species Spotlight Learn more about species that call national parks within the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) home! a peregrine falcon takes flight from the beach at Assateague Island National Seashore. Series: NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship. A vehicle charges at an Electric Vehicle charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park Series: Crystal Clear: A Call to Action In 2016, the nation celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) as the steward of special places that represent our natural and cultural heritage. Many national parks were founded on the beauty and value of water. Since the preservation of the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the National Park System has grown to include significant examples within majestic rivers, the Great Lakes, oceans and coasts, and other spectacular water resources. bright blue lake green islands in between Spain Loans Artifacts to Assateague Island National Seashore On October 17, 2006, representatives of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) signed a loan agreement for artifacts from Spanish shipwreck sites to be displayed in a new visitor’s center at Assateague Island National Seashore, Virginia. The NPS is honored to care for these objects on behalf of Spain, and to make the objects available for scientific study and public appreciation. Coins from Spanish shipwrecks Using 3D Replicas to Study Spanish Coins From La Galga and Juno Shipwrecks Learn about the markings on Spanish coins found at two shipwrecks, La Galga and Juno. See how the markings help archeologists to date the sites. Spanish coins in 3D National Park Getaway: Assateague Island National Seashore Get ready for salt air, seascapes and solitude. Assateague Island National Seashore is a place recreated each day by ocean wind and waves. Life here has adapted to an existence on the move and wintertime is the best time to watch the island change. Explore uncrowded sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests, and coastal bays. Rest, relax, recreate, and enjoy some time on the edge of the continent. Brown and white pony in a marsh area A Whole New World Does your family use olive oil? Many things that we use in our homes today have their origins in the Old World. When Spanish explorers and colonists came to the New World, they brought many things from their homes, and ways of using those things. Artist's painting of a ceramic olive oil jar and a glass jar of olive oil Plan Like a Ranger: 10 Tips to Visiting Assateague Island National Seashore "I wish I knew that before we got here," is not a phrase we want you to say on your visit. Check out how Rangers plan a trip to Assateague Island National Seashore. A ranger's iconic hat accompanied by a water bottle and park map.
Assateague Island National Seashore National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Planning Your Visit Something for Everyone Assateague offers opportunities to experience wilderness solitude, nature exploration and wildlife viewing. For more information: • Assateague Island Visitor Center, mailing address: 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, (410) 641-1441 (press 1), GPS address: 11800 Marsh View Lane, Berlin, MD 21811 • Toms Cove Visitor Center, 8586 Beach Road, Chincoteague, VA 23336, (410) 641-1441 (press 2) • www.nps.gov/asis Maryland District Camping National Seashore campgrounds and offices are open year round. • www.nps.gov/asis/camping.htm or (410) 641-1441 (press 3) Reservations are recommended March 15 - November 15 and sites are $30 per night. November 16 - March 14 sites are first come first served and $30 per night. Organizations may reserve group campsites year round for $50 per night. Equestrian campsites are available by reservation October 16 - April 14. • www.recreation.gov or (877) 444-6777 for reservations Backcountry Camping Hike-in sites and paddle-in sites are available on a first come first serve basis. A backcountry camping permit ($10 per person, age 16 years and older, valid for up to 7 days) is required and several restrictions apply. • www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or (410) 641-1441 (press 3) Area Campgrounds Assateague State Park, open April-October, (410) 641-2120 or (410) 641-2918 • www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/assateague.asp Private • www.gocampingamerica.com Area Lodging Ocean City Chamber of Commerce • www.oceancity.org or (888)-OCMD-FUN Worcester County, Maryland tourism office • www.visitworcester.org or (800) 852-0335 Virginia District National Park Service The National Park Service assists the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in managing recreation and education in the Toms Cove portion of Assateague Island. • www.nps.gov/asis or (410) 641-1441 (press 2) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Nearly all of the land area of the Virginia portion of Assateague Island is managed as a National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is open year round. • www.fws.gov/northeast/chinco or (757) 336-6122 Chincoteague, Virginia Located near Assateague Island, Chincoteague offers shopping, restaurants, camping and lodging. • www.chincoteaguechamber.com or (757) 336-6161 • www.chincoteague.com For Your Information In the Virginia portion of Assateague Island: • Pets are prohibited even in your car. • There is no camping. Accommodations are available in nearby Chincoteague, VA. Wildlife Your actions have consequences long after you leave. Feeding or touching wildlife is illegal. Respect all wildlife and observe from a distance. Assateague’s horses are special because they are wild. Assateague Island is an oasis of habitat in this world of ever-shrinking natural places. Your decisions and actions will make the difference in protecting this special place. Pets Pets are permitted only in specific areas of the Maryland portion of the National Seashore. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times! Please pick up after your pet. Pets are prohibited in the following areas to protect wildlife, habitat and visitors: • The entire Virginia portion of Assateague Island • All backcountry campsites • Nature trails • Lifeguard-protected beach • Portions of Assateague State Park • North of the State Park to the Ocean City inlet Entrance Fees and Permits All passes and permits are valid at both Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Type of pass Where valid Where to purchase cost Assateague 7 day motorcycle pass In MD and VA MD $15 Assateague 7 day vehicle pass In MD and VA MD $20 Assateague Annual Entrance Pass In MD and VA MD $40 Interagency Annual Pass Federal recreation lands MD and VA $80 Interagency Senior Pass Federal recreation lands MD and VA $80 life $20 year Interagency Access Pass Federal recreation lands MD and VA Free Interagency Military Pass Federal recreation lands MD and VA Free Chincoteague NWR 7 day pass In VA and MD VA $20 Chincoteague NWR Annual Pass In VA and MD VA $40 Over Sand Permits When valid Where to purchase cost VA Only Oversand Vehicle Day Use Permit 1 year from purchase, Refuge hours, No summer access MD and VA $70 Island-wide (MD & VA) Oversand Vehicle Day Use Permit 1 year from purchase 5 AM – Midnight (MD only) MD and VA $90 Overnight Oversand Vehicle Permit Must be awake/no camping 1 year from purchase 24hrs/day except in Refuge MD and VA $110 (valid1 year from purchase) (valid1 year from purchase) (U.S. citizens 62 yrs & older, valid 1 year or lifetime) (U.S. citizens w/permanent disability, valid for lifetime) (valid1 year from purchase) (valid1 year from purchase) (Includes Island-wide Day Use) 1 year from purchase MD $150 24hrs/day except in Refuge For more information and regulatio
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Motor vehicles are permitted only within established roads, parking areas and designated Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) routes. Use of motor vehicles in designated Over-Sand Vehicle Zones is at the operator’s own risk. The following OSV Use Regulations are established to provide enjoyment of the park while protecting fragile resources of the barrier island. Upon signing an OSV Permit, permitee accepts responsibility to know and follow all OSV regulations. Failure to comply with the terms of the Permit, including these regulations, may result in revocation of one’s OSV permit and/or federal prosecution. Please help us maintain the privilege of OSV use by strictly complying with regulations. All applicable State and Federal laws will be enforced. Violations should be reported to Law Enforcement by phoning 911. If you have any questions, please contact appropriate Seashore or Refuge personnel. PERMITS: OSV Special Use Permits and stickers are valid for one year from the month of issue: PERMIT VALID HOURS VA VA ONLY VARY - CALL REFUGE X DAY USE 5 AM – MIDNIGHT 24 HOURS X X $90 X X $110 X X $150 OVERNIGHT BULLPEN FISHING MIDNIGHT – 5 AM 24 HOURS MD COST $70 Upgrade of permits after initial issue may be accomplished by paying the difference in fee. Expiration of new permit will remain 1 year from the month of original permit. All vehicles using the OSV zone must display a permanently affixed OSV Permit Sticker, valid for the area and time of use. The permit sticker must be permanently affixed to the windshield on the driver’s side or passenger's side bottom corner, within seven inches (7”) of the lower edge of the windshield. The expiration month sticker must be affixed before adhering to windshield. Cleaning and drying the area before applying the permit sticker is recommended for best adhesion. Lost permit stickers are not refundable or replaceable. OSV permits and stickers are issued to an individual permit holder for the specific vehicle designated on the permit. Neither permit nor sticker is transferable from one person to another or from one vehicle to another. Sale or transfer of the permitted vehicle voids the permit and sticker. A replacement permit and sticker may be issued for the new vehicle only if enough of the original sticker, to include permit type, serial number and month sticker, is returned for exchange. Permit stickers destroyed in a vehicle accident may be replaced only if an official police accident report is brought in for documentation. A purchase receipt is not sufficient documentation for permit sticker replacement in any case. OSV Permits may be obtained at VA visitor centers in the Seashore and Refuge and the North Beach Ranger Station. HOURS OF OPERATION: VA - Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge hours vary each season. Call 757-336-6122 for current information. Only those with a valid Overnight Fishing Permit may remain in the Refuge after hours. Call 757-336-6577 for information. MD - Assateague Island National Seashore does not close; but overnight parking in the MD OSV Zone is prohibited except for those with an Overnight or Bull Pen OSV Permit who are awake and actively engaged in fishing. Camping and/or sleeping are strictly prohibited outside designated campsites. Tents or other temporary shelters are prohibited on the beach outside of designated campsites between sunset and sunrise. BOUNDARIES: All sand dunes and vegetated areas are considered closed even if located within the designated OSV zones. Vehicles must stay east of the black and white posts. Designated bay access points in MD are marked with orange and white striped numbered posts. See OSV zone maps on the reverse. BULLPEN: Self-contained vehicles with a valid Bullpen OSV Permit may park overnight in the Bullpen camping area only if they are equipped with an approved toilet and permanently installed waste storage tank capable of holding 2 days’ volume of waste for all occupants. Only approved self-contained vehicles are permitted in the Bull Pen overnight. All waste (including gray-water) from self-contained vehicles must be retained in vehicle’s holding tank while in the OSV zone and emptied in an approved location outside the park or at trailer dump stations located in Seashore campgrounds. Travel trailers and tents are prohibited in the Bullpen. Non self-contained vehicles are prohibited from parking in or adjacent to the Bull Pen from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: To obtain an OSV permit, vehicles must meet the following specifications: Maximum number of wheels per axle Maximum number of axles Maximum vehicle length Maximum vehicle width Minimum vehicle ground clearance Gross vehicle weight rating may not exceed Minimum tire tread width in contact with ground for 2 wheel drive vehicles 4 2 26 feet 8 feet 7 inches 10,000 pounds 8 inches REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: OSV operators in designated zone must carry and be able to display upon requ
The National Park Service strongly encourages the practice of Leave No Trace principles within the Seashore. Plan Ahead and Prepare Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces Dispose of Waste Properly Leave What You Find Minimize Campfire Impacts Respect Wildlife Be Considerate of Other Visitors Visit www.lnt.org for more info. $10.00 per person (16 and older). Park/Refuge entrance fees    V.2015 V.2014
Assateague Island National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore 410-641-1441 www.nps.gov/asis Crabbing at Assateague Island - Maryland Beautiful Swimmer Callinectes sapidus The literal translation of this Latin name is the beautiful (calli) swimmer (nectes) that is savory (sapidus). Named for the color of its claws and not its temperament, the blue crab is one of Assateague’s best known and most sought after creatures. As both predator and prey this crustacean is a keystone species, vital for sustaining the health of Assateague’s coastal bays. Growing Up Blue crabs begin life as eggs carried beneath the “apron” or abdomen of their mothers. Mature female crabs can carry up to two million orange eggs beneath their apron. After hatching into tiny larvae they live in the plankton community for one to two months. Most become food for fish, shellfish and other plankton feeders. Those that survive to become juveniles depend on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) areas as important nursery habitats. These underwater grass beds provide hiding places from predators and offer an abundance of food. and 7”) within a year. After maturing, they usually survive from one to three years. Crabs only spawn in salt water, yet young crabs thrive and grow to their largest size in brackish water. Females prefer saltier waters than males. Equipped with powerful claws and the ability to swim, blue crabs are skilled predators and scavengers. They are omnivores, feeding on clams, oysters, worms, small crustaceans, dead plants and animals, and each other. In spite of their defenses, adults are food for fish, birds, turtles, humans and other mammals. Young crabs grow rapidly by repeatedly molting their shells, often reaching adult size (between 5” Before You Go Crabbing Crabs can pinch! It’s their best defense. To avoid getting pinched, pick the crab up at the base of one of its back swimming legs where it connects to its body. In the event that you get pinched, place the crab in water so that it will let go. When is the best time to go crabbing? In season, crabbing can be done anytime, but the best time is when the tide is moving. What equipment do I need? - a hand line or string with a weight and/or a collapsible trap - bait (chicken necks, bait fish) - net with long handle - ruler to measure the crabs - cooler with lid and ice How do I catch the crabs? When it comes to bait, the best options are types that can stay on your line like chicken necks or bait fish. Tie the bait onto the line, and hold the line with one hand and drop it into water until bait hits the bottom. When you feel a crab tugging on your line, slowly pull the line with the crab until it is just below the surface. Use a net to scoop up the crab before it lets go of the bait. Place crab in a cooler with ice if it is a “keeper” (see regulations). Crabs will not survive in a bucket or cooler of water. Take only what you will eat. If you are not keeping it, return it to the water immediately. Wash your hands after handling bait. Never cook dead crabs, throw them out. Bacteria accumulate quickly in dead crabs. Sallies, Sooks, & Jimmies Crab graphics courtesy of the Integration and Application Network (ian.umces.edu/symbols/) Male “Jimmy” claws = blue Immature Female “Sally” claws = red tips male = Washington Monument Regulations in Maryland (hard shell crabs) Mature Female “Sook” claws = red tips Shape of abdomen (apron) immature female = pyramid Female with Eggs “Sponge Crab” mature female = Capital dome Regulations change frequently. Please check at the Assateague Island Visitor Center or with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (877620-8DNR, http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/) for the latest regulations. Crabs are measured from point to point across the widest part of their shell. Recreational crabbing on Assateague in Maryland does not require a license. The season is open from April 1 - December 31. June through September are the best months. Hand lines and collapsible traps are permitted. (In Maryland, only waterfront property owners and commercial crabbers may use crab pots.) Crabbing equipment must be attended at all times. All lines and collapsible traps must be removed after crabbing. Minimum size limits - Maryland Coastal Bays: • Males: 5 inches • Mature females: no size limits • Mature females with eggs: prohibited 5 inches from point to point (not to scale) Limit: one bushel per person per day. Where to Crab South Point boat ramp Note the deep channels and the small restricted area by the bridge. Crabs are caught throughout the bay by boat. Dockside crabbing may take place at Old Ferry Landing, the State Park crabbing dock and South Point boat ramp. Restricted Area Crabbing Area Barrier Island Visitor Center Chincoteague Bay Sinepuxent Bay Old Ferry Landing Bayside Picnic Area Bayside Drive State Park crabbing dock Seashore Entrance & Ranger Station E X P E R I E N C E Y
Assateague Island National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore 757-336-6577 www.nps.gov/asis Crabbing at Assateague Island - Virginia Beautiful Swimmer Callinectes sapidus The literal translation of this Latin name is the beautiful (calli) swimmer (nectes) that is savory (sapidus). Named for the color of its claws and not its temperament, the blue crab is one of Assateague’s best known and most sought after creatures. As predator and prey this crustacean is a keystone species, vital for sustaining the health of Assateague’s coastal bays. Growing Up Blue crabs begin life as eggs carried beneath the “apron” or abdomen of their mothers. Mature female crabs can carry up to two million orange eggs beneath their apron. After hatching into tiny larvae they live in the plankton community for one to two months. Most become food for fish, shellfish and other plankton feeders. Those that survive to become juveniles depend on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) areas as important nursery habitats. These underwater grass beds provide hiding places from predators and offer an abundance of food. and 7”) within a year. After maturing, they usually survive from one to three years. Crabs only spawn in salt water, yet young crabs thrive and grow to their largest size in brackish water. Females prefer saltier waters than males. Equipped with powerful claws and the ability to swim, blue crabs are skilled predators and scavengers. They are omnivores, feeding on clams, oysters, worms, small crustaceans, dead plants and animals, and each other. In spite of their defenses, adults are food for fish, birds, turtles, humans and other mammals. Young crabs grow rapidly by repeatedly molting their shells, often reaching adult size (between 5” Before You Go Crabbing Crabs can pinch! It’s their best defense. To avoid getting pinched, pick the crab up at the base of one of its back swimming legs where it connects to its body. In the event that you get pinched, place the crab in water so that it will let go. When is the best time to go crabbing? Crabbing can be done anytime, but the best time is when the tide is moving. What equipment do I need? - a hand line or string with a weight and/or a crab pot or trap - bait (chicken necks, bait fish) - net with long handle - ruler to measure the crabs - cooler with lid and ice How do I catch the crabs? When it comes to bait, the best options are types that can stay on your line like chicken necks or bait fish. Tie the bait onto the line, and hold the line with one hand and drop it into water until bait hits the bottom. When you feel a crab tugging on your line, slowly pull the line with the crab until it is just below the surface. Use a net to scoop up the crab before it lets go of the bait. Place crab in a cooler with ice if it is a “keeper” (see regulations). Crabs will not survive in a bucket or cooler of water. Take only what you will eat. If you are not keeping it, return it to the water immediately. Wash your hands after handling bait. Never cook dead crabs, throw them out. Bacteria accumulate quickly in dead crabs. Sallies, Sooks, & Jimmies Crab graphics courtesy of the Integration and Application Network (ian.umces.edu/symbols/) Male “Jimmy” claws = blue Immature Female “Sally” claws = red tips male = Washington Monument Regulations in Virginia (hard shell crabs) Mature Female “Sook” claws = red tips Shape of abdomen (apron) immature female = pyramid Female with Eggs “Sponge Crab” mature female = Capital dome Regulations change frequently. Please check at the Toms Cove Visitor Center or with Virginia Marine Resources Commission (757-247-2200, www.mrc. state.va.us/index.shtm) for the latest regulations. Crabs are measured from point to point across the widest part of their shell. Recreational crabbing on Assateague in Virginia does not require a license. The season is open from mid-March through November. June through September are the best months. Hand lines and two collapsible traps or crab pots per person are permitted. Crabbing equipment (crab pots, hand lines) must be attended at all times. Sizes: • Males & immature female: 5 inches • Mature females: no size limits. • Mature females with eggs: special regulations apply. Check at the Toms Cove Visitor Center. We recommend that you throw back any egg bearing females, also called “sponge crabs”. Limit: one bushel per person per day. Where to Crab Toms Cove Visitor Center Assateague Island Swan Cove Assateague Bridge 5 inches from point to point (not to scale) Crabbing is permitted in Toms Cove, along the shore west of the Assateague Bridge and along the roadside of Swan Cove. Portions of the Toms Cove shoreline may be seasonally closed for nesting birds. Crabbing is not permitted from Assateague Bridge or anywhere else in Swan Cove. Check at the Toms Cove Visitor Center for the current status of these areas before crabbing. Atlantic Ocean Woodland Trail Toms Cove
Assateague Island National Seashore Horseback Riding National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. Horseback riding is just one of Assateague Islands many uses. Please observe the following guidelines, so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable ride. Horseback riding is allowed along the beach in the Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone. The OSV zone may be closed due to hazardous conditions, overwash or wildlife management practices, and horses will not be permitted in this area during such closures. Horses are not permitted elsewhere in the park, including trails, boardwalks or on the paved road. In the summer and early fall, horseback riding is not permitted in the Maryland portion of Assateague Island National Seashore due to the presence of biting insects known to spread disease, including: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and West Nile Virus (WNV). However, horseback riding is permitted during this time in Virginia when the OSV zone is open. During these seasons, we do not believe there is much danger for the spread of insect borne disease, but this cannot be guaranteed. Visitors must decide for themselves whether the level of risk is acceptable. Maryland Day Use: Day use horseback riding is permitted in Maryland from October 9 through May 14. All Maryland day use riders must park in the North Beach Parking Lot. Riders must lead their horses from the North Beach Parking Lot along the marked trail near the shade pavilion and follow the sand dune crossing east to the top of the dune. At the top of the dune, riders may then mount and ride south on the beach within the OSV zone. Bayside access roads (Fox Hills and Fox Hill Levels) at KM 23.4 and KM 25.3 are also open to horseback riding. Before leaving the park, it is your responsibility to clean the parking lot and riding area of any manure, hay or feed dropped as a result of your visit. Please bring a bucket and shovel to assist you in cleaning the area. An entrance fee is required for all vehicles entering the park. Virginia Day Use: In Virginia, horseback riding is permitted along the beachfront in the OSV zone, as well as along a limited section of the inside of the Toms Cove hook. Please note this area is typically closed during the summer months for the protection of threatened and endangered species. In Virginia, horse trailers must be parked in #4, the southernmost parking lot. Stop in or call the Toms Cove Visitor Center at 410-641-1441 (press 2) for more information. An entrance fee is required for all vehicles entering the park. Maryland Travel Routes: Maryland horseback riding is permitted on the beach in the OSV zone located 1.5 miles south of the North Beach dune crossing. The stretch of beach between North Beach dune crossing and the beginning of the OSV zone is to be used only as a corridor for entering and exiting the permitted area. In the OSV zone, riding is permitted in all areas authorized for public OSV travel. Riders must stay on the ocean side of the white marker posts. Please take care to avoid groups of people engaged in other recreational activities such as fishing or sunbathing. Riders may not access areas posted for official vehicles, backcountry campsites, the “back trail” behind the dunes, paved roads, public boardwalks or any other unauthorized areas. No dune crossing is permitted other than the sand access road leading to and from the North Beach Parking Lot, and bayside access roads (Fox Hills and Fox Hill Levels) at KM 23.4 and KM 25.3. Virginia Travel Routes: Horseback riding is permitted in the OSV zone in the Virginia District of Assateague Island. In the OSV zone, riding is permitted in all areas authorized for public OSV travel as well as along a limited section of the inside of the Toms Cove hook. Riders must stay on the ocean side of the black & white posts. Please take care to avoid visitors engaged in other recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, or sunbathing. Riders may not access areas posted for authorized vehicles, trails, public boardwalks, or any other unauthorized area. Parking with horses is authorized in Parking Lot #4. Rev. 06/2015 Horse Camping: Assateague Island National Seashore provides two campsites for horse camping October 16 through April 14. Each site will accommodate up to six people and six horses. Campsites include hitching posts, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms and potable water. The fee is $50/site/night in addition to the required entrance fee for each vehicle. Reservations are available through www.recreation.gov . Horse camping sites may be reserved no more than six months in advance. Campers must clean up all garbage, manure, hay and feed. Generator use is not permitted in horse camp from 10:00PM to 6:00 AM. In addition to campground reg
Assateague Island National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore Maryland and Virginia Beach and Surf Safety You may forget your cares during a leisurely day at the beach but even a beautiful beach has dangers– especially for the unaware. Whether “catching some rays” or plunging in the surf, the information in this brochure is designed to help you enjoy the fun and avoid the dangers. NPS Lifeguard Protected Beach Area NPS Lifeguards supervise designated beach areas in Maryland and Virginia sections of Assateague. For a safe recreational experience, locate near an on duty lifeguard within the boundaries of the red over yellow flag. Hours of operation are from 10 am – 5pm. Take extra precaution when swimming outside the lifeguard area or during off duty hours; wear a life jacket. Lifeguard Beach Flag Safety System Yellow with black circle flags are permanently placed 50 yards beyond the lifeguard area and represent a safety zone. No fishing, no rigid craft, no open beach fires and no dogs permitted between these flags. Red over yellow flags represents the area supervised by lifeguards. For safety, recreate within the boundaries of these flags. Yellow flag indicates a moderate warning for surf conditions. Caution should be exercised Red flag indicates a high hazard exists such as strong surf and seaward currents. Double red flags indicate a severe hazard and a closure is in effect. Visitors will be kept out of the water until the hazard subsides. Purple flag indicates potentially dangerous marine organisms such as stinging jellyfish are present. When you hear the whistle: Lifeguards will not signal swimmers simply because they are in deep water. The lifeguards will signal swimmers toward shore because they are approaching a hazardous area or they are moving too far out for adequate supervision. Visitors with physical disabilities: Physically First Aid and Rescue: The Lifeguard operation is Surf Rescue Demonstrations: If you want to learn more equipped with rescue equipment and first aid supplies. The lifeguards are trained in ocean rescue and are certified Emergency Medical Responders. If you need assistance, contact a lifeguard or call 911. about our lifeguard operation and more about beach and surf safety, attend one of our Lifeguard Surf Rescue Demonstrations. Virginia District – Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00 am Maryland District – Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday 10:30am challenged individuals who require special consideration in aquatic recreation may want to use the protected beach. Beach wheelchairs are available in both Maryland and Virginia district beaches. Contact a Lifeguard or Ranger for direction and assistance. Hazards Lightning: In 1986, four people were killed by a lightning strike as they huddled under a beach umbrella on a nearby beach. If you see lightning or hear thunder, seek immediate shelter inside your vehicle or an enclosed building. Do not huddle under an umbrella or underneath a lifeguard tower. During a storm, the entire protected beach will be closed to the public. Shark: During the rare occasion of a shark sighting, the beach may be closed to entry. A closure may also occur if a school of bluefish are in a “feeding frenzy”. The risk of a shark attack is low however; there are ways to lower the risk even further. For instance, don’t swim at dawn, dusk and night, swim with a buddy, don’t go in the water if you are bleeding and stay clear of schooling bluefish and other schooling fish. Hazards Sun: Each year a number of visitors get sun burn from over exposure to UV radiation. Watch your children, use clothing, umbrellas and sunscreens. Lifeguards may have extra sunscreen if you need it. Umbrellas may be purchased at the snack shack in the MD district and in the town of Chincoteague in the VA District. Unsecure umbrella: An umbrella blown across the beach by the wind has caused many injuries. When strong gusty winds blow, umbrella tops should be set facing into the wind. Make sure a good size hole is dug and pack in sand firmly around it. Jellyfish: Most jellyfish you encounter at Assateague will not sting but some do, particularly those with color. Be safe do not touch any jellyfish. If you get stung, see a lifeguard. You can rinse the area with sea water or vinegar. A badly stung person should receive medical treatment. Check to see if lifeguards are flying a purple flag. Flotation Devices: Body Boards, Noodles, and other Flotation Aids can be considered a hazard in the ocean. Many drownings and rescue incidents are associated with the use of inappropriate flotation devices. Many people associate “safety” with flotation aids and feel safe going out much further than they should. Currents or wind can move an unsuspecting person into deep water or far off shore. This is an invitation to disaster; people may be separated from the device by waves, slipping off or choose to prematurely let go of the device to try and mak
11 Birds of the thicket 12 The old oak Attracted by the relative safety and abundant food source, you will find a multitude of birds in the thicket. This popular dining spot attracts the catbird (rarely seen far from dense shrub growth), towhee, brown thrasher, yellow warbler, mourning dove, robin, cardinal, bobwhite quail, American goldfinch, white throated sparrow, and yellow-rumped warbler. Exposure to salt-laden ocean winds has caused this southern red oak to adapt. Notice its short thick trunk and low spreading branches. As seasons pass, fallen leaves accumulate and gradually decay adding organic matter and moisture to the sandy soil. The old oak has created a more hospitable environment for plants and provides acorns for white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, grackle, towhee, and brown thrasher. 13 American holly Holly provides good year-round food and cover for birds and other animals. Note how this holly has been pruned by salt spray. 14 Predators of the sand Predators come in all sizes and are found in all places. Look around the sandy surface of the interdunes for their signs. Perfect holes about the diameter of a pencil are the homes of wolf spiders. The cone-shaped pit of the antlion larva is often found at the end of its winding track. Wolf spider burrows are lined with silk, which holds the sand grains together, helping keep the burrow walls intact. The best time to see one of these small predators is at night, when its four largest eyes (of a total of eight) shine as green points in the glow of your flashlight. This arachnid is terror to the insects upon which it pounces, but it is preyed upon by dune-dwelling spider wasps. The adult antlion does not feed at all. The larva, known as a doodlebug, is a voracious carnivore. It digs its pit in dry sandy areas, then lies in wait in the bottom with only the tips of its sickle-like jaws visible. When an ant or other insect tumbles into the pit, the doodlebug tosses sand up and over it, seizes the victim, pulls it under the sand, sucks it dry and ejects the carcass. 15 Observe Wind and salt shape this rugged landscape but there is an unsettling beauty in this seeming imperfection. Scoured dunes, exposed roots and twisted limbs are the tangible confirmation of the will to survive. Take a moment and notice the efforts and struggles as life and land find harmony. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore The Life of the Dunes Nature Trail The Life of the Dunes Behind the primary dune, lies a tentative environment influenced by salt-laden winds. Plants and animals must adapt to this unsettled land of shifting sands. Some thrive here, some compromise, some merely survive. 1 Tracks in the sand In the desertlike conditions of the dunelands most animal activity other than birds is nocturnal. Search for tracks in early morning before the breezes have had time to obscure them. Look for a doodlebug’s (antlion larva) winding trail through the surface sand, a red fox’s dainty doglike pawprints in a fairly straight line or a boattailed grackle’s many wandering tracks. 2 Plants that trap sand Pioneer plants create the conditions that enable other plants to get a foothold. American beachgrass and woolly hudsonia (beach heather) play a major role in building and stabilization of dunes. These plants form an underground network of stems that anchor the sand. The plants above, trap blowing sand and help to build the dune. 3 Shrubs in the duneland The primary dune provides protection from saltspray allowing beach grass, poison ivy, hudsonia, and bayberry to dominate this interdune area. Vegetation builds up organic matter in the soil and provides food and cover for many creatures. 4 Bayberry Most of the shrubs you see around you are northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica). Its berries persist through the winter providing food for birds, fox, deer and other mammals. In fall, thousands of tree swallows gorge on bayberries, fueling their southern migration. 5 Freshwater wetland Darker soil indicates the location of damp depressions formed during rainfall. Close to the underlying water table sand remains moist enough to support a growth of rushes and sedges associated with freshwater wetlands. 6 Duneland wildflowers Splashes of yellow can be seen in May as beach heather’s delicate bloom carpets the interdunes while prickly pear cactus flowers boldly in May and June. Seabeach evening primrose will follow June through October and seaside goldenrod adds an autumn splash August through November. Purple gerardia blooms in damp spots July through September and blue toadflax springs up in dry sandy areas April through June. seaside goldenrod 7 Hognose snake The reptile most closely associated with the duneland environment is the eastern hognose. All snakes are predators. The preferred prey of the adult hognose is the Fowler’s toad, while young hognose snakes eat insects. This species is famous for its bluffing
8 Black needlerush 9 Predation This rush grows only in the higher parts of salt and brackish marshes. Emerging dark stems and leaves contrast against the green of saltmeadow cordgrass. The dead gray, needlelike spikes are last year’s growth. It is valuable as cover for small animals, particularly rails, which often nest in it. Any animal that takes other living animals for food is a predator. The chickadee feeding on insect larvae is as much a predator as the screech owl that feeds on the chickadee. In the Assateague forest the carnivorous great horned owl is at the top of the food chain. Other than owl, the only exclusively predatory vertebrate animals here are shrews, snakes, bats, and hawks 10 Food for forest creatures Serviceberry and highbush blueberry produce abundant fruits that are valuable to many species. Serviceberries are tall shrubs or small trees that generally grow in clumps and may reach 40ft. in height. All around you is highbush blueberry, occurring in dense thickets when moisture and light conditions are favorable. Fruits of serviceberry and blueberry are eaten by the mourning dove, catbird, mockingbird, brown thrasher, flicker and other woodpeckers, towhee, red fox, opossum, and raccoon. 11 Habitats A habitat is an environment that provides basic needs: food, water, oxygen, shelter from the elements and natural enemies, and living space with conditions for reproducing. One animal may provide shelter for another; for example, the screech owl may take over an old flicker nesting activity. Dead and decaying standing trees are a valuable component of wildlife habitat---not only for nesting owls and woodpeckers, but for a wide array of less conspicuous creatures that are important parts of the forest food web. The maritime forest is a unique habitat, not always found on barrier islands. Some islands are narrow low-lying barriers with only beach habitat, very little, if any, vegetation or all habitats have been lost to human development. Assateague’s forest and other habitat zones are an irreplaceable natural resource. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore The Life of the Forest Nature Trail The Life of the Forest The variety of plants and animals found in the maritime forest is vast due to its distance from the ocean and protection provided by the interdunes minimizing salt spray. This woodland community is relatively sheltered but has characteristics not found in most mainland forests. Notice the many microenvironments and the plants, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals utilizing them. 1 A safe trail experience 2 Pioneer tree 3 The loblolly pine forest Thorny greenbrier and poison ivy forms virtually impenetrable thickets providing protective cover for birds and mammals. Poison ivy, recognizable by its familiar three-part leaves, grows as a trailing or climbing vine and as a shrub and is widespread on Assateague. The fruits and twigs of poison ivy and greenbrier are food for a wide array of forest animals. Three species of ticks live on the understory plants and in the leaf litter. They too are part of the web of life in this forest community. Stay on the designated trail in these woodlands. The twisted loblolly pine began growing when this site was open duneland. Ocean winds and salt spray prevented it from achieving the height and symmetry characteristic of this species in protected zones. It is called a “pioneer” because it was among the first to gain a foothold in the harsh environment, and because it helped to create conditions that enabled other species to become established. Around you will see many younger pines with straight trunks and undistorted branches. The high manmade ocean foredune (first built by developers in the 1950s) is accomplishing what pioneer trees used to do, sheltering young trees from salt spray and allowing them to grow straight. Loblollies dominate this community and multilayered forest. The taller trees, including sweet gum, red maple and oaks, form the canopy. In the shade of the canopy, shrubs, vines, and young trees make up the understory. In the denser parts of the forest, greenbrier, poison ivy, and bayberry dominate the understory. Where more light penetrates the canopy, arrowwood, serviceberry, and highbush blueberry thrive. The canopy and understory vegetation determines what animal species find a home in the forest. Rodents and insects live on and under the forest floor. 4 A sheltered environment A higher forest canopy of undistorted loblolly pines and red maples grows tall and straight well away from the influence of salt-laden winds. Here even wax-myrtles attain the stature of small trees, a height of more than 20 ft. 5 A changing marsh habitat Until the mid-1970s this site was a freshwater reed and cattail marsh with crimson-eyed and rose-mallow intermixed. Common reed (Phragmites australis) has taken over and cattail is no longer present. A few straggling mallows remain to displ
7 Marsh birds 8 Are wetlands wastelands? Wading birds, shore birds, gulls, songbirds, and even hawks and owls utilize the rich food resource of the salt marsh. The snowy egret, a common egret at Assateague, wades in the shallows, stirring up the sediments with its yellow feet and snatching invertebrates and small fishes with its bill. The greater yellowlegs, a shore bird, wades in water up to its belly and probes the sediments with its long bill to feed on crustaceans and fishes. The northern harrier (“marsh hawk”) can be seen flying low over the marsh hunting rodents and other small animals. The willet is one of the shore birds that commonly use the marshland as a nesting site. This large member of the sandpiper family appears as a drab, gray-brown bird when resting, but in flight it displays a striking black-and-white wing pattern. Wetlands may be freshwater, saltwater or brackish. Owing to their great productivity and importance as wildlife habitat, salt marshes are the most valuable of all wetlands. They support a great diversity of birds, mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, and other wildlife. They are nurseries for many game and market fishes harvested from brackish and salt waters. Decaying plant fragments (detritus) from marshes are a major component of the nutrients flowing through the estuaries and coastal seas. Sadly, these habitats, so essential to the welfare of humans and wildlife, have been destroyed at a fearsome rate. Wetland preservation laws now provide a measure of protection, but the attrition continues. National parks and other public preserves along the coasts are thus of immeasurable importance. 9 Common reed This tall grass (Phragmites australis)is a widespread species that grows in both fresh and brackish marshes, on bayshores and stream banks, and on spoil areas. It is considered a pest in many natural preserves, where its dense growth rapidly crowds out species more valuable to wildlife. Red-winged blackbirds often perch on its swaying stalks; and colony nesters such as cattle egrets, glossy ibises, and black-crowned night herons sometimes nest on or near the ground in dense Phragmites stands on dredge deposition sites. Thank you for visiting Assateagues’s salt marsh. Alterations by man and invasive species may remain in these marshes for years to come. But Assateague’s marshes will remain protected always for coastal plant and animal life and visitors to learn from and enjoy. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore The Life of the Marsh Nature Trail birds and thus are a vital link in island food chains. The National Seashore does not attempt to control mosquito populations. The Life of the Marsh The salt marsh is perhaps the most misunderstood of all coastal lands and wetlands. Mud, biting insects and the odor of decomposing marsh grasses tend to overshadow the salt marsh’s beauty, complexity and ecological value. Enjoy discovering the subtle variations in elevation that determine the bayside salt marsh community. 1 Brushy edge zone The edge zone of the coastal marsh community offers enough elevation for a wide variety of plants and animals to live here. Young black cherry trees, most often associated with loblolly pine in eastern maritime forests, are a dominant plant. Notice how the mature cherry trees are riddled with small holes. The holes are bored by the yellow-bellied sapsucker, a woodpecker that winters on Assateague. What do the bulldozer tracks, manmade channels, berms and mosquito ditches tell you about the capacity of salt marshes to recover from the alterations of man? 4 Marsh grasses Linger a few moments (especially in spring) and look and listen for red-winged blackbirds, yellow warblers, boat-tailed grackles, catbirds, kingbirds and may be even indigo buntings. 2 Spoil bank vegetation 3 Men, machines & marshes Saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) is the predominate grass of east coast salt marshes. Growing in the lowest areas of the marsh, it often forms vast grassy expanses and borders along the edges of tidal channels and guts. In higher areas of the marsh, areas that are inundated only by the highest tides, saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) dominates. Seashore saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) is commonly found with saltmeadow cordgrass growing in higher areas of the marsh that are irregularly flooded. This boardwalk is placed on an old spoil bank. Material was dredged from each side to form a dike. Long ago a marina was planned to shelter boats on Assateague before the establishment of the National Seashore. Winged sumac grows on this spoil bank along with typical high marsh shrubs like groundsel-tree and marsh elder. Dog-fennel, a perennial in the thistle family, grows in this previously disturbed area. In summer, dog-fennel has graceful, feathery, lustrous-green foliage and in winter clumps of dead stems remain standing. Alteration of this marshland ecosystem was part of an ambitious proj
Assateague Island National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Assateague Island National Seashore Maryland and Virginia The Wild Horses of Assateague Island A National Treasure The wild horses of Assateague Island are descendents of domesticated animals brought to the island over 300 years ago. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, abundant insects, stormy weather and poor quality food found on this windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society. Enjoy their beauty from a distance, and you can help make sure these extraordinary wild horses will continue to thrive on Assateague Island. “My treasures do not click together or glitter. They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night.” - Bedouin proverb Where did they come from? Were the horses shipwreck survivors . . . Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale of struggle and survival is popular, there are no records yet that confirm it. . . . or settlers’ horses? During the 17th century free-roaming horses, cows, sheep and pigs caused expensive crop damage to local farms. Farmers were required Living the wild life in Maryland Assateague’s horses are uniquely adapted to survive on a barrier island. How do they do it? What do they eat? The horses spend most of their time grazing on abundant but nutrient-poor saltmarsh cordgrass, saltmeadow hay and beach grass. The horses’ short stature is a result of hundreds of years of adaptation to this low quality diet. Genetically they are considered horses, even though they are now pony size. The Assateague horses drink over twice the amount of water that domesticated horses will due to their salty food supply. All that drinking combined with a high salt diet contributes to their bloated appearance. Where do they live throughout the year? Spring brings cool, rainy weather and fresh plant growth to the island. Many of the horses live in the marshes close to their best food sources. Foals are usually born in late spring and live with their mothers in a family group called a “band”. Each band is usually made up of 2 -10 mares, their offspring and a stallion. Hot, humid, and full of insects, summer brings to pay taxes on all mainland livestock and fence them in. Like people in the 21st century, these resourceful coastal residents looked for ways to avoid paying this tax. They turned to nearby Assateague Island with its abundance of food, shelter and a natural “corral” made of water to solve their problem. It is likely that modern Assateague horses are descendents of those hardy animals turned loose on the island to graze tax-free. a new set of challenges. The horses escape the mosquitoes and flies of the marsh by spending more time on the beach and in the surf, letting the refreshing ocean breezes carry away airborne pests. Cooler fall weather and fewer insects allow the bands to move from the beaches back to the marshes and their abundant grasses. The horses prefer to browse in shrub thickets during the damp, chilly, winter season. Their thick, furry coats will protect them from ferocious winter winds and the occasional snowstorm. Do they receive veterinary care? While action may be taken to end the suffering of a gravely ill, seriously injured, or dying horse, no measures are taken to prolong the lives of Maryland’s wild horses. As with other species of Assateague wildlife, horses that are sick or weak do not survive. This helps maintain a hardy, healthy population of wild horses. Virginia’s horses are privately owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department and receive some veterinary care. Where can you see the wild horses? In Maryland Maryland’s horses are owned and managed by the National Park Service. They are freeroaming wildlife and could be anywhere in the park. During the summer months many bands can be found on the beach. You can often see the horses and other wildlife by driving slowly along park roads. Protect island habitat by parking only in designated parking areas. The “Life of the Forest” and “Life of the Marsh” trails are good places to look, especially during spring, fall and winter seasons. Misty of Chincoteague and Pony Penning How is the population controlled? What can you do to support the wild horses? Do not feed or pet the horses. Horses that learn to come up to the road are hit and killed by cars. In Virginia Virginia’s horses are privately owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department and are fenced in large enclosures. Look for the horses in the marshes along Beach Road and from the observation platform on the Woodland Trail. Many visitors first learn about the Assateague horses from Marguerite Henry’s famous book Misty of Chincoteague. Written in 1947, this classic children’s tale tells the story of a young horse called “Misty” and the children who loved her. While the story is fiction, the characters (including the horses) were real. On the following day
Assateague Island National Seashore Cultural Resource Brief NationalParkServi ce U.S.Departmentofthelnterior '-::;�:·· ·� __ .-!c'·:· George Washington and the Barrier Island Sheep At first, the landowners grew grain crops in addition to raising livestock. Problems arose when escalating numbers of free roaming animals trampled the grain fields. In 1662, the Eastern Shore courts ruled that land­ owners would have to build fences; those farmers failing to comply would be fined. Instead of following the law many landowners sought access to the barrier islands. In addition to the "natural fencing" the surrounding waters supplied, these islands, as noted by Custis, provided the natural resources livestock needed. Acquiring Assateague Island Hog Island sheep at Mount Vernon. (NPS Photo) "When we come to compare the Smith Island wool, with the native wool of the country at large we are lost in astonishment at this wonderful interposition of Providence on our behalf, which serves to shew what a benefit we enjoy, and how little we have estimated the gift." - George Washington Parke Custis, 1808 Beginning in the mid-1600s, Eastern Shore landowners utilized barrier islands for rearing livestock. George Washington Parke Custis, step-grandson of the first president of the United States, raised sheep on Smith Island off the coast of Virginia's Eastern Shore. The island provided abundant food, shelter and fresh water making it an excellent environment for raising sheep. Custis introduced ewes from the island to the flocks at his family home near what is now Washington D. C. This experience convinced him that these sheep if moved to similar locations, would adapt and produce the same high quality wool for others. His hope was to continue raising sheep on the island as well as making the sheep available to landowners in other regions of the country. Barrier Islands Used as Pasture Not long after the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, explorers ventured across the Chesapeake Bay to assess the available resources of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Finding these areas acceptable, settlers began to arrive in 1619 to clear the land for settlements and farming. By order of the British Parliament all Virginia lands were the property of the King of England unless claimed through a "patent" by an individual. Once the patent was acquired from the Crown, the individual could hold the claim by building a 12 x 12 house, fencing an acre of land, and living on the land- either in person or through an agent- for one year. The first to acquire such a patent on Assateague was Captain Daniel Jenifer. In April, 1687 he was granted a patent to all of the land on Assateague from the Maryland state line to the southern tip of the island. Jenifer placed four employees on the island to live and watch over his livestock, fulfilling the requirements of the patent. Two years after his purchase, Jenifer sold the land to Maximilian Core for 12,000 pounds of tobacco. For the next century, Assateague was broken into smaller parcels through land sales and inheritance. By the time of the American Revolution, an estimated 25 people were residents of the island. Assateague Village, Virginia In 1794 four men bought a 163 acre parcel of land that would later become Assateague Village. Over the next several decades families began to make their homes in the village. A lighthouse was built in 1833 and that along with an increased interest in harvesting seafood drew people to Assateague. The village spread out between the lighthouse and the channel shoreline facing Chincoteague. At one Experience Your America ™ www.nps.gov/asis/naturescience/index.html

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