Showing posts with label assateague island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label assateague island. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Early Pony Swim...

According to Suzanne Taylor of the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, the ponies are expected to make their swim Wednesday morning between 8:30 and 9:30 am. The Chincoteague Fire Company's salt water cowboys allow the ponies to rest and make sure the tide has stopped running completely before herding them across the channel.

As is customary the ponies will then be herded to the carnival grounds where they will rest and receive medical treatment before Thursday morning's auction. WESR will have live reports from the swim on Wednesday and Thursday's auction.

Parking will be very limited at the event and those who are headed to watch the annual event are encouraged to park at the High School and ride a bus to Tom's Cove. The Chincoteague Trolley will also be operating throughout the island.

The Chincotegue Volunteer Fireman's Carnival will be open during the day of the swim and the auction and will open evenings through Saturday night this week and will open for their final weekend Augut 2, 3 and 4.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Regulations Regarding Wild Horses On Assateague

BERLIN--Assateague Island National Seashore officials announced two new regulations to reduce harmful interactions between the public and the park’s wild horses.

One new rule prohibits park visitors from getting within 10 feet of any wild horse. The second regulation requires campers to secure any unattended food in hard sided, lockable storage (such as a vehicle) when not being used.

“We’re really hoping that visitors will take this issue seriously and help us reduce the frequency of inappropriate interactions with the horses,” Park Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said.

Officials say the new initiatives are designed to keep the park’s visitors--some of whom are bitten or kicked by its horses each year-- and its horses--who have been hit by cars as they stand by roads looking for handouts--safe.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rigell Working To Solve Parking Problem At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

There's a parking problem at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Concerns of Beach erosion and interference with birds have prompted the National wildlife Refuge System to consider moving parking for the beach to a new location.

Congressman Scott Rigell has been working with the National Wildlife Refuge System to find the best solution on the issue. In a letter to Gregory Siekaniec, Rigell states that beach access is the single greatest driver of tourism in Chincoteague and has a direct impact on every aspect of the community's economy and that many of his constituents have expressed their concern about potential changes to the current parking lot that has capacity for 1,000 cars and is at a reasonable walking distance to the beach.

Rigell met with Siekaniec and said that left the that meeting with several "takeaways" including:

That Siekaniec recognizes recreational beach access within the CNWR is paramount to Chincoteagues economy and that any reduction in direct beach access will be detrimental to Chincoteague and Accomack County.

February 2010
While potential beach erosion many necessitate moving the recreational beach to a point further north, no decision will be made until after the list of alternatives is published for public comment.

If it is necessary to move the beach, the current parking lot will not be eliminated until new parking is established within a reasonable walking distance of the beach, with no shuttle service required.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Concert To Benefit Assateague Island Lighthouse

CHINCOTEAGUE --A concert on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to benefit the
Restoration Fund for the Assateague Island Lighthouse will see the debut of "The Light of Assateague," a ballad specially written for this occasion.

Bill Troxler, whose musical group Three Sheets will perform the concert, is well-known in Washington and Baltimore circles for his hammer dulcimer workshops. Troxler has now written a new ballad to celebrate the 143 years that the Assateague Light has sent its signal out over the waves.

Those years have caused weathering to windows, walls and metalwork.

Restoration was started in 2009 but more remains to be done.

The concert is set for Friday, Nov. 26, at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go toward lighthouse restoration work. Tickets are available at H&H Pharmacy, Egret Moon Artworks or Chincoteague Natural History Association at 757-336-3696.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Body Found By Park Ranger At Assateague National Seahore

BERLIN, Md. - Investigators with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations said Sunday, that a federal park ranger discovered the body of a white male Saturday afternoon along the northern side of Assateague National Park.

According to investigators, the body appears to have washed ashore within 24 hours of the discovery.

WCBI described the body to be that of a white male, 5'7" and 140 to 160 pounds. They said the body was clothed in Levi blue jeans and a black Patagonia belt.

A check with local law enforcement agencies revealed there were no reports of any missing person or reports of any missing crew members off of local vessels.

The body remains have been sent to Baltimore for an Autopsy. Anyone with any information regarding the description given, please contact Cpl Johnson of the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation at 443-783-0441 or the MD State Police, Berlin Barrack at 410-641-

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Accomack County Officials Support Beach Parking

ACCOMAC -- Accomack County officials voted unanimously to support Chincoteague in the town's effort to keep parking available at the beach on Assateague Island.

The Board of Supervisors will add its voice to those of Chincoteague town officials who are determined to battle efforts to eliminate or reduce beach parking at Assateague Island National Seashore in favor of a shuttle system.

The vote came after Chincoteague Councilman John Jester made a plea for the county to join the town in supporting the continuation of parking at the beach.

A study by Volpe National Transportation Systems Center commissioned by the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in anticipation of the updating of the refuge's master plan in the coming years gave four options for getting visitors to the beach --two of which involved some type of shuttle service. The transportation alternatives are partly in response to the threat of rising sea levels and storms that have necessitated the rebuilding of the parking lots at the beach after each winter in recent years.

"Wherever Volpe's been, shuttles seem to follow in national parks," Jester said. He called the idea of families taking a shuttle bus to the beach, loaded down with all their gear, "ridiculous."

Jester said 500 surveys returned to a beach access committee of the town showed 80 percent of those surveyed say they come to Chincoteague to go to the beach; 80 percent said they would not feel safe during a storm at the beach; and 75 percent said if a shuttle service is implemented they would think about not coming back to vacation there.

Jester said Accomack County in 2009 collected $401,500 in hotel taxes from Chincoteague and the town's real estate represents $1.1 billion out of a total in the county of $3.6 billion, with 45 percent or more of homes on the island being second or vacation homes. Those property values, and taxes collected by the county, would likely decrease if the beach was no longer accessible by private vehicle, he said.

"The bottom line is the economy of Chincoteague and of Accomack will suffer," he said.

County supervisors appeared to agree wholeheartedly with Jester.

"I hope this board will do anything they can to prevent the shuttle service," Supervisor Jack Gray said. Ron Wolff agreed, as did Donald Hart Jr., who said of the Fish and Wildlife Service, "In their opinion, human beings are a nuisance."

Hart made the motion to support a letter Chincoteague will write objecting to the proposed elimination of beach parking and also to ask state and federal elected officials to go on the record as to what their stance is on the matter.

Supervisor Wanda Thornton of Chincoteague said the same issue came up in 1999 but was thwarted by a concerted effort including local officials making several trips to Washington, D.C., to present their case.

"The deal was then that they were going to bus the people from Wallops ... We were able to change that whole equation then and we can do it now," she said.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Assateague Lighthouse Undergoing Renovations

CHINCOTEAGUE -- The historic Assateague Lighthouse is undergoing renovations after serving as a beacon for more than 100 years.
After ownership of the building passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004, a $1.5 million, multi-phase restoration project began. The lower gallery deck has already been replaced, allowing visitors to walk on the deck -- approximately 130 feet in the air -- for the first time.

The second phase in the restoration project involved removing and replacing the glass windows at the top of the lighthouse to seal water leaks.

Funded largely by grants and entrance fees visitors pay to climb the lighthouse, these two projects together cost almost $400,000.

Now, fundraising for the remaining phases of the lighthouse restoration is under way. These include replacing the rest of the lighthouse windows, recentering the stairwell, renovating the upper gallery deck and eventually giving the lighthouse a new coat of paint.

"We don't want to change the fabric of the building, but we want to make sure it can withstand visitors going up," said Refuge Manager Lou Hinds.

Because the lighthouse is a registered historical structure, restoration efforts are being overseen by a Virginia historical official "to ensure the work is correct," Hinds said.

International Chimney Corporation is now working to replace the windows, which are bowing out due to pressure exerted by the wrought iron frames that are expanding as they rust.

"If we don't take steps fairly quickly, additional windows will break, and that is a loss because some of those are original windows," said Hinds.

The Chincoteague Natural History Association is working on a capital campaign to raise funds for the continued restoration of the lighthouse. The association "wanted to be involved in the restoration of the lighthouse, so they began saving money many years ago. That's what's given us such a great start on the restoration," Hinds said.

The CNHA leads tours of the lighthouse, and this summer, five interns from as far away as California have been employed to help.

"Our interns this summer are ... relaying the cultural importance of the lighthouse," said Park Ranger Melissa Perez. "They'll be ... explaining why we're doing what we're doing with the restoration."

She hopes the tours will gives visitors a deeper appreciation for what the lighthouse symbolizes, rather than a single-minded goal of climbing the 198 steps to the top -- although the view of the island from 142 feet is breathtaking.

Perez said education is an important step in gaining public support for the CNHA's capital campaign, and Hinds agreed that "it's the community's lighthouse ... so having community support is important."

The CNHA is currently working with the Curtis Group, a Virginia Beach-based organization that aids in nonprofit fundraising, to survey the public about attitudes regarding the lighthouse and restoration "to find out what fundraising approaches will work best," said CNHA Executive Director Beth Hanback. The CNHA aims to raise $1.5 million for the restoration project and to establish an endowment fund for the future maintenance of the lighthouse.

In addition to the study, which Hanback hopes will be completed in three to five weeks, the CNHA is working to plan events including National Lighthouse Appreciation Day on Aug. 7 and a lighthouse benefit concert on Oct. 2.

The timeframe for the remainder of the restoration project depends on funds received. The final step of the process will be stripping the lighthouse of its old, lead-based paint and applying a new coat.

"Literally the icing on the cake is going to be when the lighthouse is repainted," Hanback said.

The lighthouse was completed in 1867 and had six keepers until the lens was converted to electric operation in 1933. The Coast Guard still operates the lens.

Visitors can go inside the lighthouse Thursday through Monday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. -- but those wishing to climb to the top should arrive by 2:30 p.m. Adults pay $4 to climb, and children under 12 pay $2. All entrance fees contribute to restoration efforts.

Anyone wishing to donate to the restoration project can send checks to the Assateague Lighthouse Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 917, Chincoteague, Va. 23336. Call the CNHA at 757-336-3696 for more information.

"In the end, it takes the public and donations from the public ... to help us achieve our goal of complete restoration," Hinds said.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Second Saturday Art Stroll On Chincoteague

CHINCOTEAGUE — Take advantage of the warm June evening and come out for the 2nd Saturday Art Stroll, sponsored by the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance, on Saturday, June 12 from 6-10 p.m. The participating shops and galleries have an array of special events in store this month. Most take place throughout the evening, unless specifically noted

Start the stroll at Threadgoodes on Main Street where Chincoteague’s own WCTG will be broadcasting live from 5-7 p.m. to celebrate Threadgoode’s second anniversary.

Next door, at Bayside Arts, watch a carving demonstration by Mark Pleasanton.

Bayside Arts also has an exhibit of Chincoteague scenes painted on elementary school bricks by Gary Taylor.

Then head over to Maddox Boulevard to continue the stroll. Island Cottage Collection features “By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea” paintings by ICC Gallery Artists, sea glass by Suzie Hazel, handmade jewelry by Laughing Dog Studio, homegrown herbal soaps and lotions by Marianne Warren, wind chime making by Sue Eyet and live music with Bill Troxler playing hammered dulcimer. Next door at Island Arts, Donnie Thornton demonstrates painting on feathers.

From there, stroll over to Church Street where the Linda Nerine Gallery features hand carved cedar, crocheted beaded jewelry, vintage fabric jackets and scarves and a baby boutique.

Back on Main Street, stop in at Island Butterfly and have a portrait sketched by local artist Tracey Taylor Arvidson. Stop next door at Wine, Cheese & More, which offers a tasting with wines from South Africa from 6-9 p.m. There is no charge but a donation to the CCA scholarship fund is appreciated. Then cross the street to visit Psychotronic Music and Beads, where Mia Weldon demonstrates glass bead making and DJ Michael stirs up the sounds of formative years. A few steps away, visit Flying Fish gallery and check out the hand blown glass fish in the octopus garden.
Go back across Main Street and visit the newest 2nd Saturday participating shop: Island Style. Then walk down to Sundial Books where local author Jim Carpenter will sign copies of “From Tears to Memories I and II,” his book about local gravesites, 6-8 p.m. Then head over to Cleveland Street. and visit Egret Moon Artworks for a demonstration of the art of Batik. Stop by and watch how hot wax, colorful dyes and a piece of material can change a life, 6-8 p.m. Back down on Main Street, the Kite Koop and Book Store features live and lively music and treats.

End the evening with the ever-popular 2ndS Soirée at aNopheles Blues. This month the Soirée celebrates the birthday of Weegee, king of the N.Y. 9 to 5(am) news photogs and the noir nobility. Dance to the Beat of Billie (Holiday). It’s proper to schmooze at aNoPheles Blues.

Keep in mind that while the shops and galleries listed above have special events scheduled this month, other members feature art, books, antiques and specialty foods in their shops and many provide special treats during the art stroll. These include the Bookhounds, Guinevere’s & Vintage Rose, the Osprey Nest Gallery and Ron Hugo Photography.

The Chincoteague Cultural Alliance is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed to enhance community life by fostering and promoting the growth and vitality of arts and culture on Chincoteague Island and Delmarva’s Eastern Shore. Program support is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Town of Chincoteague. For more information, visit or call 757-336-5636.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Options for Refuge Parking/Transportation Plans

CHINCOTEAGUE -- Interest in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Altern-ative Transportation Study proved to be high last week when it was unveiled before a large crowd at the Chinco-teague Center.

The study was released to the public last Tuesday night to a crowd estimated at about 500.

Refuge Manager Lou Hinds and Michael Dyer of Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the organization that prepared the plan, unveiled the main options in it.

Hinds reminded those present that it was just a study. "No decisions are in this document," he said.

Dyer presented the options available in the study. It revolves around four main plans:

  • Alternative 1 --No action or status pro plus.

  • Alternative 2 --Retention of all parking capacity at the beach.

  • Alternative 3 --Partial relocation of beach parking capacity.

  • Alternative 4 --Elimination and relocation of all beach parking capacity.

    Alternative 1 has no new transportation solutions, but does mention ongoing plans to develop a better bike path from the Assateague Channel Bridge to the traffic circle where the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce is located.

    Alternative 2 involves the retention of all beach parking that presently exists, about 960 parking spaces. This option is a low-cost solution that lays the groundwork for large-scale investments in the future. But it assumes a high cost to maintain parking on the beach.

    Alternative 3 reduces the number of beach parking spaces and incorporates a system to transport beach visitors from offsite parking to the beach area. It also incorporates a reconfiguration of the Assateague Channel Bridge from a two-lane structure to a three-lane structure and the addition of a bicycle-foot bridge.

    Alternative 3 would extend the bike path all the way down Maddox Boulevard to Main Street. It would add sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian signals to the major roads on Chincoteague. This plan would expand equipment concessions at the beach, increase message boards and generally have high capital costs for some of the proposals.

    Alternative 3 requires satellite parking lots, probably located on Chincoteague.

    Alternative 4 has the complete elimination of parking on the beach. A new parking garage would be constructed, probably on Chinco-teague, and a shuttle system would take visitors to the beach area.

    This option involves the purchase of a new fleet of "purpose-built" transit vehicles and have bicycle lanes on Route 175 and Maddox Boulevard. There would be no widening of the Assateague Channel Bridge with the alternative.

    Of all the alternatives, Alternative 4 raised the most ire from the crowd. One member of the audience said, "Alternative 4 would be the death blow to Chincoteague." Most of the crowd applauded that statement.

    Hinds, Dyer and Trish Kicklighter, superintendent of Assateague Island National Seashore, answered questions from the audience after the four plans had been described.

    Hinds said the a new alternative parking plan must be adopted within the next two years.

    "Please read the document in its entirety," Hinds implored. "I can't do this without you. Right now we don't have a plan of action."

    Hinds told the crowd that sea level rise has had an impact on Assateague, and could have more of an impact in the future. He gave an example of a marker that he took a picture of on Assateague two years ago that was once 157 paces from the water line. Today the site of the marker is under water and about five feet of sand that used to be there is now gone.

    Kicklighter stated that about $200,000 is reserved each year for beach parking and lifeguards out of the funds raised for entrance fees. However, she estimated that up to $600,000 has been spent on Assateague parking with all the storms that hit the island this winter.

    The Volpe Team met with local people in a series of meetings last year to get their input into the study.

    The whole study with appendices is available on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Web site. There also is a place on the site to make a comment and Hinds urged everyone interested to make a comment, either on the site or in a letter.

  • Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Daily Entrance Fee To Increase For Wildlife Refuge

    CHINCOTEAGUE --The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the daily entrance fee to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge will increase from $5 to $8. The price of the weekly, refuge annual, interagency annual and senior passes will not change. All passes are accepted at both ends of Assateague Island.

    According to Refuge Manager Lou Hinds, the refuge projected that the fee increases of 2008 would generate the additional revenues needed to help offset the costs of maintaining the beach parking lots and visitor safety services on Assateague Island as well as other visitor services projects.

    "Since the addition of the $5 daily pass, our proceeds have remained the same. The price is too low and we have to change it," Hinds said.

    Eighty percent of the fees collected come back to the refuge to fund visitor use and backlog maintenance projects. Hinds noted that this past year, the refuge used some recreation fee dollars for the historic Assateague Lighthouse Restoration Project. Work included restoring the gallery deck, repairing the roof and replacing the glass panels in the Lantern room. Additionally, fee revenues were used for the annual maintenance of roads, trails, beach parking lots, visitor safety services (lifeguards), fee collection and law enforcement support. This year, recreation fee dollars will be used for similar projects.

    As required in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, the refuge will accept public comments on the proposed fee increase until April 30. Comments may be made by e-mail to FW5RW_, or write to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 62, Chincoteague, Va., 23336.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Summer And the Beach

    Last Sunday my husband and I took a ride to Assateague on the Virginia side. To most of you that have live in the surrounding areas all of your lives you know that the beach is very much a huge part of your summer life.

    What I saw on the beach that day simply broke my heart. I have walked that beach so many times in my life I once felt I new every pebble by name. Many of you will agree. Please take a moment to see what it looked liked on February 21, 2010.

    Unless you own a camel and that camel can walk a great distance don't plan on any parking. The parking lots are gone. The circle that once gave us the option for "north end" or "south end" is gone. The ocean has moved in and though the Yield sign still stands there is no reason to.

    The ocean and the beach have always been an important part of my life. Teenage years were spent lying in the

    sand with the radio on, baby oil and iodine, swapping stories with my best friends, and napping. Those were the days when

    we all thought the sun was our best friend and a good beach day was from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

    No need to take a cooler with food. There was a resturant right there on the beach! Yep. The resturant even had a gift shop.

    No need to worry about tourist too much. And can you acutally believe that once you parked

    your car in the morning you could leave for lunch on Chicoteague and go back to beach and park in the

    original parking spot! You sure could.

    This electric wire cables were probably connected to the electric poles that once ran along the paved road and now sit almost at the waters edge. The gas line is in the water and I am sure upon hide tide the copper tubing cannot be seen.

    That wire cable is just about where the info station and first aid station had been a few years ago. The boarded walkways our children once ran down and the benches, the iformation and first aid stations are now part of the ocean.

    We all thought at the time Assateague would always be there. And it has been. I toted both of my children as toddlers to the beach. As they grew they knew on my days off from work we would be going to the beach. When they became older so did their friends and I ended taking all the kids to Assateague. Then in their teens the ideas of beach parties came along. And because they loved the beach as I do we had one beach party to start the summer and one to end it. Thank goodness by this time all of them could drive.

    Oh, I have seen the changes. But the one thing that put an end to the enjoyment of the sand, sun and ocean was the sudden popularity of the beach. None of us could ever get used to the feeling of strangers being so close on the beach. When you're used to having all that sand for yourself for all those years and suddenly can't seem to stretch out and relax it's no fun. Tourism had hit the beach! By this time my kids were grown and could go alone and sit in line behind them and fight over a spot in the sand. I wasn't. But I have.

    I've left lots of memories on that beach. I've cried alot of tears, had alot of kisses from old boyfriends and chatted many many hours with friends. I've made sand castles, dug holes, dug for sand crabs, picked up shells and jumped the breakers with my kids. I've explained sea nettles and porpoises and fish and crabs to the tourists. I've seen some of the most beautiful kites snap and fly into the ocean. And I wondered if
    we were supposed to return the sand our kids took home in their bathing suits. I've seen beautiful sunsets and, yes, sunrises.

    And through the years I learned that the ocean was NOT the best place to be during a thunderstorm. But I never once came home with a bad sunburn. And I learned at a young age what undertow is without almost drowing simply by watching others.

    I have no idea what lies ahead for my dear friend Assateague. I can tell you that there were pieces of heavy equipment there and as you can see in the photos they have been working to restore some dunes. Other than that time will tell and I guess it just depends how many more nor'easters we have this season. After all we don't
    own the ocean and we sure can't tame it.

    But there is one very good thing to report about the day. The Chicoteague ponies were out strolling. Now that's a peaceful thought.

    I leave you with this beautiful poem written by someone that I know well and respect a great deal.

    The ocean

    The ocean she’s slick as a books open page
    In a blink of an eye she takes out her rage

    Fisherman prosper from her giving ways
    She pleasures her patrons on hot summer days

    Pirates have sailed her with not a fear
    Only to find they soon disappear

    She’s as gentle as a kitten, light winds in the air
    She’ll lash out with anger and give you a scare

    The respect that she’s asking not meant to cower
    The ocean she’s silent then rumbles with power

    She will hold you, caress you, and fill you with joy
    Or she can toss you, and throw you like playing with a toy

    Men sailed her, and fished her, sought treasure for fare
    She held them; she fed them, with not a care

    Others they tempted to conquer her fate
    She swallowed them up and left not a trace

    They’ve tried to control her powers you see
    She shows them whose boss when they go to sea

    Treat her like a lady, respect what she hails
    Or you may be at rest with the Andrea Gail

    The Ocean

    I'll be back to check on you, old friend.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Chincoteague storm Nov. 2009


    Assateague Beach

    Here are some photos during the storm on Chincoteague taken by Tammy Rickman. She is the associate publisher and writer for

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Volunteers Needed

    Annual Beach Clean-Up

    Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Manager Lou Hinds invites the public to join refuge staff and volunteers on Saturday, Sept. 19, for the Annual Beach Clean-up. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. in the Hebert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Parking lot.

    The annual beach clean-up is part of the International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by The Ocean Conservancy and Virginia Clean Waterways. Anyone can participate; it doesn’t take special skills or knowledge, just the desire to further the cause of clean oceans and waterways. Participants will remove trash from the beach, record what they find and identify the sources that caused the debris. The Ocean Conservancy will use this information to educate the public and to help change the behaviors that cause pollution.

    Participants should bring water and sunscreen and wear comfortable footwear. Trash bags, gloves, and data sheets will be provided. Participants will receive a free T-shirt and the entrance fee to the refuge will be waived.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Showing At the Marva

    Showing Friday, September 4, 2009 7:00 P.M. Admission: $5.00


    Sneak Preview of the next
    Ken Burns feature movie.

    KEN BURNS is a director and producer of documentary films. His documentaries have been nominated for two Academy Awards, 1982 and 1986.