Assateague Seeks Concession Bids

ASSATEAGUE — With the federal government shutdown in October now a fading memory, Assateague Island National Seashore officials on Monday announced they are moving forward with a plan to bid out concessions and equipment rentals on the barrier island.
National Park Service officials announced on Monday a prospectus to solicit proposals to provide beach equipment rentals, food and beverages and other merchandize within the Assateague Island National Seashore will be sent out within the next 30 days. Once the prospectus has opened, bidders will have 90 days to respond.
The NPS plans to release the prospectus in early November with an anticipated award in mid-spring 2014. Currently, the Assateague Island Alliance (AIA) has a store in the north parking lot area that offers concessions, but the facility could be replaced after the prospectus is bid out. AIA is the current contractor and the contract was issued on a short-term temporary basis, so the NPS is offering the business opportunity to the private sector.
The release of the business prospectus and the eventual bidding process was planned for earlier this fall, but was put on the back burner when the Assateague Island National Seashore was closed during the federal government shutdown in October.
“The NPS had planned to issue the proposal in early October and had previously announced a site visit for Oct. 12,” said Superintendent Debbie Darden this week. “However, because of the recent partial government shutdown, the site visit and issuance of the prospectus were delayed. The process has now resumed and the issuance of the prospectus will occur within the next 30 days.”
A site visit has been planned for Nov. 21 beginning at 10 a.m. The site visit will allow all interested parties to tour the existing concession facilities. Each interested entity may bring up to three attendees.  Interested parties who notified the NPS after the initial announcement earlier this fall are now asked to reconfirm their attendance.
“More than two million people visit the island annually to enjoy pristine beaches, observe the famous wild horses, camp and take part in a wide range of recreational activities,” the release reads. “This is an opportunity to provide valuable services to the public while supporting the mission of the NPS.”
Parties interested in attending the site visit on Nov. 21 must RSVP to Concession Specialist Debbie Morlock via email at [email protected]  by 4 p.m. on Nov. 19. The site visit will start at the AINS ranger station in the Maryland district on the west side of Bayberry Drive. The NPS will provide additional information for the site visit to those who respond in a timely manner. Those who would like to receive information but not attend the site visit can contact Morlock.