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Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Canadian Geese preen themselves at sunrise
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Canadian Geese preen themselves at sunrise
Description - Chincoteague NWR consists of over 14,000 acres the majority of which is located on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. Additional refuge lands are found on the north end of Chincoteague Island, Morris Island, Assawoman Island, and the northern end of Metompkin Island.

The largest collection of near pristine barrier islands in the country is found here. The interspersion of fresh and salt water marshes, open water, barrier beach, and loblolly pine forest provide habitat for a variety of species. Refuge management programs actively enhance habitat to benefit migratory and nesting birds and indigenous wildlife, including threatened and endangered species such as Delmarva fox squirrel, peregrine falcon, bald eagle and piping plover.

The bay side marshes provide wintering, migration, and breeding habitat for a variety of waterfowl species, particularly black ducks. Fourteen moist soil management units comprising over 2600 acres are managed for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. White-tailed deer and sika elk inhabit the pine forests, scrub shrub zone, and fresh water marsh edges of the island's interior. The famous Chincoteague ponies graze in two fenced compartments on the refuge.

The Visitor Contact Station has scheduled guided walks and interpretive talks. A concessionaire operates an interpretive wildlife tour. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge hosts approximately 1.5 million visits per year. This number makes the refuge one of the most visited in the nation. A 7-day pass is $5/vehicle; there is no fee for pedestrians and bicyclists. An Interagency Agreement exists with the National Park Service which allows Assateague Island National Seashore to administer public use on a five-mile portion of the refuge beach.

Recreation - The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory volunteers capture, examine, weigh, band and release resident and migratory birds in September and October of each year. In the raptor research area, hawks, kestrels, osprey and other birds of prey are observed and banded from September through November. Each fall the area hosts activities associated with the Kiptopeke Birding Festival.

Climate - Virginia generally has mild winters and warm humid summers. The eastern portion of the state has winter temperatures averaging above 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The state's summer temperatures have little variation. The eastern portion of Virginia generally experiences temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius). High humidity along with warm temperatures can be uncomfortable.

Location - This island is located on the northern part of the Eastern Shore in Virginia.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Chincoteague NWR, P.O. Box 62 , Chincoteague, VA, 23336, Phone: 757-336-6122
, r5rw_chnwr@fws.gov

Additional Information:
Eastern Shore - Trillions of grains of sand, eroded from Maryland's ancient Appalachian Mountains and deposited by the sea, have created a magical barrier island, offering visitors both solitude and adventure.
Eastern Shore Area - The Eastern Shore is a wildlife viewer's paradise. Barrier islands, refuges, nature preserves and parks team with wildlife. Lush forests, salt and fresh water marshes, sandy beaches and dunes provide ample opportunities to study and enjoy wildlife firsthand.
Maryland National Wildlife Refuges - The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife manage several wildlife refuges in Maryland. These refuges protect and manage biological diverse habitat while offering an educational and recreational opportunity to the public.
Tidewater, Hampton Roads & Eastern Shore Travel Region - Home to one of America's largest resort cities which has two state parks and a national wildlife area within its borders.
Virginia National Wildlife Refuges - The Wildlife Refuges in Virginia cover areas of upland forests, wetland forests, marshlands, rivers, coastal estuaries and more. Visitors will find quality hunting, fishing, wildlife watching and more.


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