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Contact: Liz Davis, 410-629-6087
(Assateague Island National Seashore – April 22, 2014) Assateague Island National Seashore is planning for a more resilient Bayside Picnic and Parking Area. The NPS is asking the public to help the park define both the natural and cultural values and characteristics important for protection of this popular area. To do this, the National Seashore will host three public workshops: one at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, May 13th; it will be repeated 9:00 AM on Wednesday, May 14th; and again at 9:30 AM on Saturday, June 7th. The three workshops will be held in the park’s Environmental Education Center at 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin MD. The workshops are the first step in the development of a new environmental assessment to evaluate a more sustainable location for the facility.
“We really want to work with the public to understand what they value about Bayside peninsula,” noted park Superintendent Debbie Darden. “We hope the public will tell us what they feel would make a great location for a new Bayside Picnic and Parking Area.”
The new plan, the Bayside Picnic and Parking Area Relocation Environmental Assessment, will look at a broad range of alternatives. “Nothing is off the table. We’d like to hear as many ideas as we can for making this important park day-use area more functional and less susceptible to damage from erosion while safeguarding bird and animal habitat,” added Darden.
The environmental assessment will look at the area’s natural and cultural resources, to be sure that they are protected as a part of the study. “We will be asking the public to share their knowledge about this special area with us as a part of the work,” noted Chief of Resource Management Bill Hulslander. “We will gather information from the public, non-profit organizations, and other federal and state agencies to ensure that we understand fully what they value about this popular and important area of the park.”
Previously, the NPS had looked at two alternatives for the area in the Bayside Picnic and South Ocean Beach Parking Areas Removal and Relocation Environmental Assessment, 2013. At the end of that process, in March 2014, the NPS announced that it would repair the current Bayside Picnic Parking Area in its current location, substituting a clay base and clamshell surface so that during future storms, asphalt is not washed into the bay.
About Assateague Island National Seashore - The Seashore is one of the largest and last surviving Mid-Atlantic barrier islands possessing a continuum of intact coastal habitats where the full range of natural processes occur with little or no human interference. The 31,000 acres of marine and estuarine waters within the Seashore are a protected vestige of the high quality ecosystems that once occurred throughout the Mid-Atlantic coastal region of the United States. The Seashore’s habitats support a broad array of aquatic and terrestrial species, many of which are rare, uniquely adapted to life at the edge of the sea, and dependent upon natural ecosystem processes undisturbed by humans. Amidst the highly developed Mid-Atlantic region, the Seashore’s coastal resources provide unique opportunities for nature-based recreation, education, solitude, and inspiration.