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Assateague Island National Seashore

Storm tossed seas, as well as gentle breezes shape Assateague Island. This barrier island is a tale of constant movement and change. Bands of wild horses freely roam amongst plants and native animals that have adapted to a life of sand, salt and wind. Special thickened leaves and odd shapes reveal the plant worlds successful struggle here. Ghost crabs buried in the cool beach sand and tree swallows plucking bayberries on their southward migration offer glimpses of the animal worlds connection to Assateague.

Human struggles are intertwined with this island at the oceans edge. Gallant surf rescues by the US Life-Saving Service and dashed dreams of a summer beach resort are but a few of the stories told here. Marine and terrestrial life functioning in concert offer a closer look at a natural and cultural world shaped by forces larger than our own.

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Maine Puffins
Maine Puffins


Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.