(Sept. 27, 2013) Assateague Island National Seashore’s press release about a new business opportunity alarmed and saddened some people who believed the island might become commercialized.
As it turns out, they are worrying needlessly, despite the Facebook postings of national park fans, who lamented the news online.
“This is HORRIBLE news,” read one post. “The greatest beauty of Assateague is that it’s so completely devoid of human structures and businesses.”
“Great. Now we are going to ruin Assateague,” read another post. “Can nothing be sacred?”
At least two Facebook fans wrote that they did not want Assateague to be turned into “another Ocean City.”
According to the Sept. 24 news release, the National Park Service intends to issue a prospectus “for a new business opportunity” at the national park within the next 30 days. That prospectus will solicit proposals to provide equipment rentals, food and beverages, merchandise and other services at the national park in Maryland.
The proposal, however, is not for new business opportunities, but for the two privately run concessions that are already at the national park. One rents canoes, kayaks, standup paddleboards and bikes. The other operates a small store that sells and rents beach accessories such as beach chairs, sunscreen and insect repellent. It also sells firewood, water, ice cream and other small items.
The national park posted the information about those two businesses in response to the numerous posts from people concerned that it might become commercialized.
The contracts of those two concessions are expiring and will be going out to bid. Interested persons may submit businesses proposals after the prospectus is released in early October. When it is released, it will be synopsized and posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, www.fbo.gov, and on the National Park Service Web site, http://cs.inside.nps.gov/Pages/CommercialServices.aspx.