Residents Upset Changes To Assateague May Hurt Tourism - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Residents Upset Changes To Assateague May Hurt Tourism

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CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. - Known for their ponies and nationally-recognized beaches, the Town of Chincoteague may be undergoing a major facelift.

"It's a national treasure," said Donna Leonard of Chincoteague, Va. "You won't find another place in the world that's like Assateague."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing a "comprehensive conservation plan" for the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  At this point, they released three alternatives, including one that would move the beach a mile north from the popular south-end.

"To take that experience they're having now and moving us to a new experience is very iffy because it means a lot to our economy," said Mayor Jack Tarr.

In a Friday morning town hall roundtable meeting, residents discussed what they feel will be lost. Denise Bowden, a member of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company says moving the beach could be detrimental to the ponies, a major tourist attraction.

"That week in July when we do our round-up and swim and everything, every hotel is full, residents are full [and] people are everywhere," said Bowden.

Tarr says their fear is "it may create a new inlet in the beach and the seas will roll right into Chincoteague."

In it's latest update, the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service says it will release its draft plan for public review by the end of May.

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