Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge Plans Beach Move - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge Plans Beach Move

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Chincoteague Island from Chopper 16. (Photo: WBOC) Chincoteague Island from Chopper 16. (Photo: WBOC)

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. - After years of planning and research by the National Park Service and rounds of public hearings, the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge is gearing up for big changes.

Visitors to the refuge have been going to the refuge's recreational beach on the southern end of Assateague Island for generations. Due to sea level rise and the cost of maintenance, the National Park Service is recommending the beach be relocated two miles north of its present location.

Some people enjoying the sand at Chincoteague on Tuesday were not thrilled this amazing place will soon be a thing of the past.

"Right now everyone is comfortable with this beach," said Chincoteague resident Christopher Jestin. "You know how to get in and get out. They know what they need.”

The move, according to park officials, is to move the beach to a more protected area. This will help reduce the cost of maintenance and take some of the burden off of the residents.

The move still doesn’t sit well with Jestin.

“If they do buses, how are people going to bring coolers, umbrella, beach chairs, children’s toys," he said. "All of the things you see around here. And umbrellas look the same. If a storm comes up, how are they going to get people out?"

There have been concerns brought up about how this move could make the town less appealing to visitors. Some visitors, like Rick Schrop from Cleveland, Ohio, have been coming to this area for years.

“If it has a negative impact, unfortunately, we might have to find another place to go to the beach," Schrop said.

A 30-day review period is open until Oct. 11. This is when the regional director will review the plan and decide if this is the best option or will make more changes to the proposal.

To read the NWR's final plan, click here. Hard copies are also available at the refuge office.

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