New Assateague Concession Opens With High Expectations

ASSATEAGUE — The new concession operation at the Assateague Island National Seashore opened this week just 10 days after the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) and its partner SuperFun Eco Tours signed a 10-year contract with the National Park Service.

Earlier this spring, the MCBP and SuperFun Eco Tours were selected to run the concession operations at the Assateague Island National Seashore after being the successful bidders and were awarded a 10-year contract. MCBP and SuperFun Eco Tours hit the ground running this week with the opening of their multi-faceted operation.

The Bayside Drive component of the concession operation includes a variety of rental opportunities for local residents and vacationers in the park including kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, bicycles and even clam rakes. The MCBP and SuperFun Eco Tours are also offering kayak and stand-up paddleboard tours through many areas of the National Seashore’s 31,000 pristine acres. Earlier this week, the concessioners were running electric service to the rental office.

The other component of the new concession operation on Assateague is the Beach Hut located in the center of the North Ocean Beach day-use area. The Beach Hut, which opened on Wednesday, is offering food and drinks, beach supplies and other items. The Beach Hut is also offering kayak, stand-up paddleboard and bicycle rentals.

Both the MCBP and SuperFun Eco Tours have provided commercial services on the barrier island in the past, but the agreement reached this spring after an extensive public comment period and bidding process finalized the partnership and locked the concessioners into a 10-year contract.

The partners plan to institute a variety of new environmentally-friendly initiatives and source a high percentage of the food and merchandize they sell from local artists and vendors. While the MCBP and SuperFun Eco Tours are just getting started with the opening of their concession operations on the barrier island this week, the plan is for an expansion of services in the future.

“The concessioners’ highly motivated and creative talent has sparked high expectations for more innovative ideas during the life of this contract,” said AINS Superintendent Debbie Darden this week.

Darden said this week the new partnership is expected to reach more visitors than ever as services are expanded to include mobile sales.