Maryland Coastal Bays and Super Fun Eco Tours Pair to Form ‘Assateague Outfitters’
Assateague Outfitters is a building made of three shipping containers weighing 18,000 pounds and totaling just 640 square feet. This building was created using one 40-foot-by-8-foot container as well as two 20-foot-by-8-foot containers. These shipping containers have been out on the open seas for 8-10 years and tend to retire after a certain amount of trips. The containers come from Chesapeake Container Systems in Baltimore.
The environmentally friendly business is a partnership between the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and Super Fun Eco Tours. Super Fun Eco Tours was founded by Tom Simon and Neil Nimrichter who both graduated from Ohio University with degrees in Adventure Recreation.
After Simon spent a few summers as a park ranger on Assateague Island, he fell in love with the spot.
“When the Assateague Island National Seashore came up for bid, we felt it would be really cool to have a private business with some of our capabilities to partner with the Maryland Coastal Bays program, which is a really great cause and helps to educate people about the importance of our coastal bays,” Simon said.
The dynamic duo from Super Fun Eco Tours has been giving tours around the island since 2009. The pair says the kayaking tours are more about educating people and showing it’s visitors what is important. Simon says the kayaking aspect is more of a way to get around.
“It’s more important for us to get people in the resource and show them why it’s so cool and why it’s so important,” Simon said. “We take out nets and we catch a bunch of marine species and show them how they fit in the ecosystem and really help people make a connection to the resource, so in turn, they really care about it and become stewards themselves.”
The co-founders of Super Fun Eco Tours say this new building is perfect because it is mobile which is ideal in an area susceptible to hurricanes and flooding. They also say that the building model goes along with the Ethos of the company by re-purposing these containers and other materials for the building as well as upcycling. Upcycling is is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
“The doors come from the Habitat for Humanity Restore and a lot of the other products come from local businesses in the area which helps give them a second life,” Simon said.
The idea for this business on the national seashore was brought upon by visitors. Super Fun Eco Tours was once located outside of Assateague and visitors would pass it on the way to their destination.
“The old building was small and not climate controlled,” Simon said. “This is an opportunity to provide better and new services to guests.”
Assateague Outfitters plans to provide ice, firewood, snacks, water, soda, and camping gear, among many things. They will also have kayaks, bikes and stand up paddle boards available to rent.
The local business is currently open on weekends, weather permitting, but plans to be open in full force by memorial day weekend.
The co-funders encourage you to stop on by to check out their new location and find new services that Assateague guests have been asking for.