Park Service Lays Groundwork for Removing Old Assateague Road - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Park Service Lays Groundwork for Removing Old Assateague Road

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE- Most visitors to Assateague Island today know the Eastern Shore getaway as a place featuring miles of marshland, beaches, and dozens of ponies. But if development plans from the 1960s had come to fruition, the island would look a lot more like its neighbor to the north, Ocean City.

Developers had drawn up plans to create the town of Ocean Beach and started by laying a nearly 18-mile long road named Baltimore Boulevard.  A nor'easter in 1962 largely destroyed what had been built of the development and future plans were scrapped, but Baltimore Boulevard remained.

Now the National Park Service has begun the process of removing the road as well.

"Because it serves as an impediment to natural water flow and also for vegetation and vegetation can't grow where that road is currently at," said aquatic ecologist Brian Sturgis.

Sturgis said when water washes over the decomposing road, hydrocarbons are washed into the surrounding area.  He also said removing the road would be good for the well-being of the animals that live on the island and the ones who migrate through the island.

"Whether it's swallows or piping plovers or even butterflies or dragon flies," said Sturgis.  "This is an extremely valuable corridor for all these critters as they move back and forth along the coast."

Sturgis says removing the road will come down to funding and finding assistance in physically removing 18 miles of asphalt from the island.  He says right now negotiations are underway with potential partners, which might include the National Guard.

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