The first park I ever worked at was Assateague Island National Seashore during the summer of 2011. It was a very great experience! I worked as a Visitor Use Assistant park ranger, which means I worked in the Fee Booths and greeted visitors as they came to the park. As well as the Ranger Station, where visitors went to check into the campground, get back-country camping permits, and over-the-sand vehicle permits.
Assateague Island is off the coast of Maryland and is a 37-mile long barrier island. Three agencies share management responsibilities of Assateague; The National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Maryland Park Service of Maryland Division of Natural Resources. After several failed attempts to develop Assateague Island into a city, due to strong storms, Assateague Island National Seashore was signed into law on September 21, 1965. By June of 1967 a headquarters site was marked, along with a visitor and administrative area for facilities to be constructed. The Park’s Purpose Statements is…
“Assateague Island National Seashore exists to preserve the outstanding Mid-Atlantic costal resources of Assateague Island and its’ adjacent waters and the natural processes upon which they depend while providing high quality resource-compatible recreational opportunities.”
The park itself is opened year-round, and the beach is amazing! Now I’m not a huge fan of the beach, if you haven’t noticed yet, I have the tendency to get sunburned very easily. However, it was quite fun still! I had an amazing summer there. The Visitor Center there is extremely nice, and they just finished building a new Ranger Station after the summer I left.
Most people visit to see the wild horses, and yes they are WILD. The NPS doesn’t feed them, or give them veterinarian help. (Expect in the case if the horse was harmed by a human, like getting hit by a car.) They do however, to keep the population to a healthy size, give the female horses a contraceptive. Kinda like a form of birth control. To do this, the Natural Resource division actually shoots the mare with a dart to administer it. Now don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them a bit.
It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for; a safe, clean beach, fun in the sun, and to be hidden from horrendous crowds.
However, like at any park, please follow and abide by all the rules. Those rules aren’t meant just for your safety, but for the safety of the animals as well! We want to keep those horses wild, not tame!