ASSATEAGUE – Just about a month after ground was broken on a new visitors’ center on Assateague Island, national parks officials this week announced other major improvements to visitor services are underway.
Assateague Island National Seashore Superintendent Scott Bentley announced on Monday major renovations are underway at the Maryland end of the barrier island and that the work is expected to be completed before millions of visitors start heading to the park around Memorial Day weekend.
New shower and restroom facilities are being constructed at the Assateague National Seashore’s Bayside campground and the Oceanside Group campground sites. In addition, three new bathhouses are being constructed along the north beach parking area to provide improved changing areas, shower rinse stations and restrooms.
A new restroom facility is also being constructed at the bayside picnic and canoe rental area. Also, the north beach parking area has been redesigned and will be elongated northward, more than doubling the previous linear access to the beach for national seashore visitors.
To ensure visitor safety during improvements, construction areas have been cordoned off including much of the north bay parking lot, leaving about one half of the area for beach access and ranger station parking.
Consequently, day-use parking for horse trailers has been reduced to a maximum of seven horse trailers only until May 14. In addition, the Bayside campground may remain closed as late as May 29 this year. Bentley apologized for the inconvenience, but said the improvements will make them worth it.
“Though we regret the inconvenience, we believe these improvements will be enthusiastically welcomed by nearly two million visitors using the facilities each year,” he said.