We are beginning a new season and a new era out on Sandy Point Island.
As you may remember reading, Avalonia has entered a new relationship with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, for the management of Sandy Point. The Island has been included in the National Wildlife Refuge system, which is terrific news for the protection of the island and the wildlife that calls it home. National Refuges across the country have become very popular – infact, one such Refuge in Virginia is recognized as one of the top things to do in Chincoteague for both locals and tourists alike. We hope our Refuge will become one to be talked about too and bring more people to Sandy Point Island!
We have worked hard together to come up with a plan that is best for everyone: it supports the donors’ intent to keep it as a nature preserve but also keep it open for the public to enjoy and appreciate.
The wildlife service biologists will be stewards and educators as well. They will monitor the migratory birds when they arrive to nest. Fencing will be erected as it has been in the past years. There will be educational signage and an effort to engage the public to help protect the wildlife as well – not unlike the sort of fire signage one might find to protect those within buildings where hazards might be present. Most visitation guidelines will remain as they have been for years and the wildlife stewards will be able to see that these guidelines are followed for the benefit of all.
Recently the USFWS released a statement to inform the public about the new arrangement for passes for visitors, needed from Memorial day through Labor Day. There will be daily passes and season passes as before. Instead of family passes, only adults will need to obtain a pass and all children under 18 are free. Seniors are discounted. Overall the fees will be less than what has been collected when passes were purchased through the COMO, and season’s passes will be a real bargain. In a more efficient system, passes can be purchased online and the information will be posted on the USFWS website. The wildlife service is still exploring the possibility of making the passes be available locally.
Please check the USFWS website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/ninigretsandy piont for updates and we will have information on our website as it becomes available.
All will be welcome to enjoy the peace and beauty of the island that Avalonia has been caring for, for years. People and wildlife. We believe that taking this step is truly in the right direction. So bring on the sunshine!