Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park in Maryland, and the Chinoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. The Refuge was established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds, primarily snow geese. Assateague Island National Seashore was established in 1965 to preserve the barrier island, surrounding waters, and provide recreational opportunities. The United Nations has designated Assateague as a World Biosphere Reserve. The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated it a National Natural Landmark.
The Chincoteague Pony is a hardy breed that developed on Assateague Island, which is off the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia.
The legend is that a Spanish galleon wrecked off of Assateague Island and the surviving ponies swam to the island. However, the more likely theory is that early 17th century colonists let their animals loose on the island to avoid the tax on fenced livestock. Whichever theory is true, the free-roaming ponies of Assateague have been living there for hundreds of years.
© Timothy Lundin Photography