Beach Closure at Assateague Island National Seashore after decades-old bomb fragments washed ashore
BERLIN, Md- A partial closure is in effect for the North Ocean Beach Swimming area on the Maryland side of Assateague Island National Seashore following the discovery of multiple pieces of military munitions on the beach.
According to the National Park Service, the area was used for rockets and bomb testing in the 1940s. In the 1950s a cleanup effort was undertaken that saw munitions debris buried in pits on the island.
They say that due to the natural movement of the island and sea level rise, some of these pits are now offshore. It is likely that the large Nor’easter in May disturbed the nearshore seafloor and uncovered one of these pits. This has resulted in upwards of 7 pieces of munitions washing up on shore during a 2 week period.
According to the Assateague Island National Seashore office, “metal fragments, but some may still contain residue of either explosives or propellent and thus must be considered dangerous.” The Dover Airforce base and Ocean City bomb squads have been mobilized to help in the clean-up.
They call on the public to be vigilant when at the beach and not touch any fragments, or bring them to lifeguards or the visitors center if discovered.
Park Management will be meeting this week with EOD experts in an effort to develop a plan for going forward.