Maryland’s only oceanfront state park will be doing some remodeling. Assateague State Park in Worcester County has proposed a Campground Improvement Project, which will impact some camp loops and sites.
The project, set to begin in the fall or winter of 2017, will allow for the widening of the base of sand dunes at the park in an effort to increase the park’s resilience to coastal storms, higher tides and the adverse impacts of projected sea level rise.
“This project seeks to enhance Assateague State Park’s sustainability as a coastal barrier island,” Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina said. “By strategically relocating some roads and campsites, we expect that we will be better able to protect the park’s infrastructure and the natural dune and beach landscape.”
The construction project involves the shifting of five camp loop roads from 20 to 100 feet westward, away from the primary dune along the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 26 eastern-most campsites impacted, 18 will be relocated and eight will be eliminated. The proposal also involves the installation of several paved paths designed to enhance accessibility for disabled persons, along with a modest gravel parking lot for five new walk-in campsites. No new buildings are included in this project.
As part of the reconfiguration, Assateague State Park will also be updating its lettering and numbering system to better identify campsites. The new system will be used beginning with the 2018 camping season. Longtime campers will be provided with a “conversion table” so they can be sure to camp in their favorite site.
“These modifications will enhance our guests’ enjoyment of all that Assateague has to offer, including camping at one of the most popular parks in the state,” said Settina. “This forward-thinking project seeks to safeguard and stabilize the park’s natural defenses and processes, and make it an even more attractive beach, camping and tourist destination.”
Due to the fact that the project is located within the Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area and involves an increase in parking lot area of 0.42 acres, the Critical Area Commission will review the project at an upcoming meeting. Public comments can be submitted until Feb. 27.