South OSV Zone Updates
The South OSV zone is open to "U" post and will open fully Sep 1. For permit information go to: www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/osv.htm
Click here for the OSV Post Map
Lighthouse & Refuge Treks
Refuge Trek and Lighthouse Climbs are provided by our friends group, Chincoteague Natural History Association.
For more information...
The refuge is open from 5am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
Visitor Center hours are 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
Outdoor Classroom Project
We are working with Accomack County Schools to create an outdoor classroom at Kegotank Elementary School.
Protecting Nesting Shorebirds
To give birds a chance at survival we create nesting sanctuaries by closing Toms Cove Hook and Assawoman Island from Mar. 15-Sep. 15.
We protect threatened species like the piping plover.
We are pleased to announce the release of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). The 15-year management plan will guide refuge practices to achieve our wildlife conservation mission and to support public use on the refuge.Chincoteague and Wallops Island NWRs Final CCP
CCP FACT SHEET
You can now download a quick synopsis of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). This 15-year management plan will guide refuge practices to achieve our wildlife conservation mission and to support public use on the refuge.Comprehensive Conservation Plan Fact Sheet (pdf - 550KB)
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
The control of the invasive and exotic grass species Phragmites australis is an important step in maintaining a healthy and native habitat on our refuge. From mid-June to early September, we will be cutting the early-growth Phragmites to control the spread into our freshwater impoundments. This will also allow us to accurately map the areas of invasion. Signs posted along to road or trail indicate where active cutting is taking place. Some of the benefits of controlling Phragmites are to encourage native species diversity, increase native habitat, minimize impact on pollinator species and resources, and increase wildlife viewing areas along the Wildlife Loop. This effort also helps us create sustainable habitat for our migratory bird species, including waterfowl and shorebirds. The main areas you may see active cutting are Snow Goose Pool, Shoveler Pool and the pool between C-& D-dikes.
CAUTION: As of July 1st, lifeguards on Assateague Island, VA already made 68 rescues so far this summer. This is nearly as many rescues as the combined total made during the entire summer of 2015 on Assateague Island (in both Maryland and Virginia)! Conditions on the beach are particularly hazardous this year due to a high number of seaward currents. These currents are most likely to form in areas of deep water that are next to areas of shallow water. Don’t be fooled! This deeper water may appear calmer than surrounding water. If caught in a seaward moving current; remain calm and signal for help by raising an arm. If you have the energy, swim parallel to shore to escape the current. If you are exhausted, try to remain calm and stay afloat. Many times, the current will bring you onto a shallow area. To stay safe, watch for yellow warning flags and listen for daily announcements from lifeguards. You can also read warnings posted on the information signs at the lifeguarded beach. Swim in the lifeguarded area or wear a lifejacket. Join lifeguards for a Surf Safety Demonstration, available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am. You can also click the link below for tips on water safety.Learn more...
The North Over-sand Vehicle area is available March 15 to September 1. It is accessible from the Service Road and open to valid OSV permit holders for the purposes of fishing only. From this point forward, OSV users in either zone are required to sign-in and out during their visit. Please see the link below for detailed information and related updates to rules regarding use of the OSV areas.
Note: the North OSV area will be CLOSED July 25.
North OSV Zone details
Good news! Bicyclists are now permitted to ride on the service road up to "D-Dike". Please see the link below for a map and details.
Note: the Service Road will be CLOSED to all access July 25, 2016.Read More (pdf 167KB)
Over the past 200-300 years, these modern-day descendants of domestic horses have adapted to the hardships of living near the ocean. 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: Aug 28, 2016