(July 13, 2018) One only has to look out over the Ocean City Inlet toward Assateague Island to see how the two pieces of what was once the same barrier island have evolved differently since the 1933 storm that separated them.
Ocean City’s sea wall and beach replenishment projects have kept this part of the island relatively stable, while a different toll has been taken on the northernmost stretch of Assateague.
And while Ocean City’s development stays more or less where it’s been put, Assateague Island neither has nor wants that sort of development.
But the landscape is changing: storms, measured cumulative pollution effects and sea level rise are just some of the concerns surrounding the ongoing efficacy of both bayside and oceanfront campsites at the Assateague Island National Seashore.
For the past couple of years, the National Park Service has been developing plans with that situation in mind, and now has settled on a suggestion: move its campsites to different, more stable areas as the existing sites become unusable or dangerous.
The National Park Service has made a new document available based on comments from the public and other agencies when the initial comment period began last year, and has opened that document for comments to see how close the plan came to what was envisioned.
The commenting period is open until Aug. 6.
The park service has sketched out an area just west of where the current campgrounds are located, and is developing ideas of where to place the sites within that area.
Currently, the oceanside campgrounds are located just in front of or behind the dune line on the island, and are bordered on the westerly side by Ocean Campground Lane.
The proposal by the park service is to make Ocean Campground Lane the eastern border of the campsites, which would be bordered on the west, for the most part, by Bayberry Drive.
Bayberry Drive is the road all visitors to the national seashore use to enter and exit the park.
The large wooded area to the west of the North Ocean Beach, or the first parking lots seen upon entering the national seashore, has also been identified as a place for the campgrounds to go.
The existing bayside campsites are planned to move eastward about one-third of the distance from the bay to Bayberry Drive.
There are two opportunities to comment on the project.
Written suggestions and comments can be submitted online to the park services’ Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website until Aug. 6 at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/oceansidecamping.
Or, attend the public open house scheduled for Monday, July 23 between 4-7 p.m. at the National Seashore’s Environmental Education Center at 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, Maryland 21811.