PHILADELPHIA- National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Director Michael Caldwell has announced the selection of Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Inc. - SuperFun Eco Tours, LLC to operate the Concession operation at Assateague Island National Seashore, including retail services located at the Beach Hut on Assateague Island’s North Beach Area and retail and rental services at the Bayside launch area.
"This new concession contract will retain the same high standards of service that visitors enjoy now and will improve the environmental sustainability of a very efficient operation" noted Regional Director Caldwell.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program, working in partnership with SuperFun Eco Tours, will provide the exceptional visitor services expected at Assateague Island, offering expanded rental services for Kayaking, Canoeing and Biking, a wide selection of locally-sourced and sustainable food and beverage options, instituting new environmentally-friendly initiatives, and sourcing a high percentage of retail merchandise from local artists.
"We are so excited about this partnership with Assateague Island National Seashore," said Dave Wilson, Executive Director at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. "One of our goals is to get people outdoors to appreciate the beauty of the bays behind Ocean City and Assateague. And biking and canoeing are two of the best ways to do that."
“We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with the National Park Service and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. We are excited to showcase our local community through our efforts at Assateague Island National Seashore,” said Tom Simon and Neil Nimrichtor, owners of SuperFun Eco Tours.
This is a new and expanded concession operation for the park; providing both day visitors and overnight campers with the only food, beverage, and merchandise service in the park. It will also provide opportunities for visitors to take home a reminder of their Assateague Island experience. Each retail facility will serve as an information center about the park as a whole, with interpretive exhibits, brochures and maps.
The new ten-year concession contract is authorized under the National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998 which requires a competitive process. The NPS concessions program manages commercial visitor services that are necessary and appropriate for public use and enjoyment at National Park sites.
The NPS solicited offers for this contract through a prospectus which was publicly released in December 2013. A Northeast Region-led panel of National Park Service subject matter experts reviewed all proposals and, based on the criteria stated in the prospectus, selected Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Inc. -SuperFun Eco Tours, LLC. The criteria and evaluation method are prescribed in the federal regulations that govern NPS concessions operations, 36 C.F.R. §51.16(a) and (b). It is expected the new contract will become effective in May of 2014.
About Assateague Island National Seashore - The Seashore is one of the largest and last surviving Mid-Atlantic barrier islands possessing a continuum of intact coastal habitats where the full range of natural processes occur with little or no human interference. The 31,000 acres of marine and estuarine waters within the Seashore are a protected vestige of the high quality ecosystems that once occurred throughout the Mid-Atlantic coastal region of the United States. The Seashore’s habitats support a broad array of aquatic and terrestrial species, many of which are rare, uniquely adapted to life at the edge of the sea, and dependent upon natural ecosystem processes undisturbed by humans. Amidst the highly developed Mid-Atlantic region, the Seashore’s coastal resources provide unique opportunities for nature-based recreation, education, solitude, and inspiration.
About the National Park Service - More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 398 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Did You Know?
"You have to go out, but you don't have to come back." Such was the life of a surfman from fall to spring. The forgotten heroes of the U.S. Life-Saving Service rescued numerous shipwreck victims from Assateague's waters. The island was home to 4 Life-Saving Stations in the late 1800's-early 1900's.