OSV Zone - COMPLETELY CLOSED
OSV Zone is closed to all 4X4, pedestrians, and horseback riding due to nesting piping plover.
2015 OSV Closure
The refuge is open from 5am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
There are events for the whole family throughout the year at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Check out our events calendar to learn more.Events Calendar
We are pleased to announce the release of the draft comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental impact statement (EIS) for Chincoteague and Wallops Islands NWRs for public comment. We have now extended the comment period through August 15, 2014. Once finalized, the CCP will guide refuge management over the next 15 years. Follow the link below to download a copy of the draft CCP/EIS, for more information on how to submit comments.Chincoteague and Wallops Island NWRs Draft CCP/EIS
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Around the Refuge
As a long-time U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, I'd heard about Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the famous ponies that inhabit Assateague Island but it was not until arriving in my new position as Refuge Manager that I fully understood and appreciated the strong cultural heritage connecting the Chincoteague Ponies, Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and the Town of Chincoteague.
Nor did I understand the pivotal role that Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge plays in providing a home to these important animals, while coordinating with Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company to ensure that the herds are properly managed.
Over the years, the leadership and staff at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge have worked diligently alongside Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company to take care of the ponies. On the refuge, we help coordinate various events celebrating these cultural treasures, such as seasonal roundups and summer pony penning, which includes the Sunrise Pony Walk and the Pony Swim.
I would like to congratulate Refuge staff and members of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company on yet another successful year! The Sunrise Pony Walk went very smoothly this year and was well-attended (approximately 3,000 visitors). The 90th Anniversary Pony Swim was also successful and the ponies made it safely to the Carnival Grounds in the Town of Chincoteague, where they will await the auction.
Now that the auction has ended, the ponies will once again return to their home on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. By the afternoon of July 31st, they will all be on Assateague Island where they and their ancestors have lived for centuries and graze in peace alongside the plethora of wildlife protected by Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. I feel privileged to play a role, for years to come, in helping maintain this tradition which is so important to local residents and fans across the globe who treasure the Chincoteague Ponies.
- Kevin Sloan, Refuge Manage
Check out this blog featuring a historical article about the Chincoteague Ponies, originally published in 1876.Chincoteague, The Island of Ponies
Come join us for free, family-friendly fun. ¸.´¯`•.¸><(((º> ¸.•´¯`•.¸ ¸.•´¯`•.¸><(((º>
regularly as schedules change weekly.
The modern-day descendants of those domestic horses are wild and have adapted to their environment. Prior to the refuge's establishment in 1943, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company purchased the ponies and continues ownership to this day. The Firemen are allowed to graze up to 150 ponies on refuge land through a Special Use Permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Sunrise over Chincoteague - Jacqui Trump.
Last Updated: Jul 30, 2015