Assateague Island’s managing organizations are supported by non-profit and volunteer groups that raise funds for important programs and generally work to preserve and protect the island’s invaluable natural resources. They are themselves invaluable resources, contributing time and effort to keep native wildlife safe, manage the wild horses, restore and replenish shoreline habitat, keep Assateague trash free, and much, much more. Please consider participating in these organizations.
Camping on Assateague Island: National and state park camping information can be found here for Assateague Island National Seashore and here for Assateague State Park. Please note that campsites are often booked a year in advance, and and only a small number of sites have electricity hook-ups.
Below are links to the organizations that manage and support Assateague Island.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
“Chincoteague Refuge includes more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds (with an emphasis on conserving greater snow geese), the refuge today provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds as well as other species of wildlife and plants. The refuge also provides wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, wildlife photography and observation, interpretation, and environmental education.”
Assateague Island National Seashore
“Assateague Island National Seashore serves as a public land where visitors can come to relax, recreate and immerse themselves in the resource. Popular activities include walking the beach, swimming, surfing, wildlife viewing, birding, crabbing, fishing and kayaking. Over 1 million visitors come to Assateague each year, including the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge located in the Virginia district of Assateague Island.”
And if you’ve wondered how your entrance fees (and other monetary contributions) are used, this page covers “Your Dollars at Work.” Spoiler: they go a long way.
“Assateague State Park is Maryland’s only oceanfront park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west. Its two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and feral horses.”
“Assateague Island Alliance (AIA) was formed January 1, 2008 as the only non-profit Friends Group organization to promote the education, awareness and protection of Assateague Island National Seashore’s wildlife and natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. All proceeds directly benefit Assateague Island National Seashore.
“Assateague Island Alliance partners with the Assateague Island National Seashore to promote the awareness and protection of the island’s wildlife and natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.”
AIA offers an Assateague Horse ID App that gives you Maryland herd horse identification, history, and important information on human/horse interactions. Free, for Apple and Android mobile devices.
Friends of Assateague State Park
“The mission of the Friends of Assateague State Park is to enhance Assateague State Park through physical, financial, and outreach programs… FOASP was established in 2000. FOASP averages 200 members per year. One third of our members are Maryland residents – the rest are from out of state or Canada. Some of our members take advantage of the many opportunities to volunteer at Assateague State Park. Those opportunities (camp hosting, helping with environmental education, working on maintenance projects, etc.) are coordinated by the staff of the park.”
“Assateague Coastal Trust, a member of the global WATERKEEPER Alliance movement, hosts the Assateague COASTKEEPER, working to assure our communities have access to swimmable, fishable and drinkable water. For over 50 years ACT has been working arm in arm with diverse community partners to protect and defend the health of Delmarva’s coastal waters through advocacy, education, science and the enforcement of just and equitable clean water laws.”
ACT offers a Swim Guide App that shows monitored water quality for the waters around Assateague Island. Free, for Apple and Android mobile devices.
“The Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) is one of 28 National Estuary Programs (NEP) across the country that receives EPA funding in order to work toward the restoration and protection of ‘estuaries of National significance.’ The Program is a grassroot, multi-stakeholder collaboration working toward meeting this goal. The Maryland Coastal Bays watershed is an impressive coastal resource; it supports abundant wildlife and a wealth of aquatic resources in a relaxing rural atmosphere unique to the mid-Atlantic region… As one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the state, the collective watershed of these bays encompasses approximately 175 square miles of Maryland’s coastal plain. It supports numerous rare and threatened plant and animal species, forests, and wetlands vital to migratory songbirds and waterfowl, as well as numerous important commercial and recreational fin and shellfish species.”
“Chincoteague Island is Virginia’s only resort Island. Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is within easy reach from all major cities on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Chincoteague is the gateway to the Virginia portion of Assateague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, home of the famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies. Chincoteague offers a relaxed atmosphere and the beauty of unspoiled nature.”
“NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility provides agile, low-cost flight and launch range services to meet government and commercial sector needs for accessing flight regimes worldwide from the Earth’s surface to the moon and beyond. Wallops’ flight assets ranging from research aircraft, unmanned aerial systems and high-altitude balloons to suborbital and orbital rockets provide a full-range of capability while operational launch range and airfield capabilities meet ongoing and emerging needs in the science, aerospace, defense, and commercial industries.
“The facility’s diverse mission sets and on-site partners, including the U.S. Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, is a model for leveraging and optimizing multi-organizational capabilities and support services.”
*All quotes are taken from their respective websites.