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Project Profile

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Boardwalk


Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia is one of the most-visited wildlife refuges in the United States, presenting opportunities for fishing, crabbing, clamming, kayaking, bird watching, camping and much more. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service needed to provide a safe route for pedestrian and cyclist traffic entering the refuge along the narrow two lane road.

Extending earthen fill into the protected wetlands was not viable, and the 1.5 million annual visitors to the East Coast island location required a long-term solution. U.S. Fish & Wildlife needed to ensure that the specified boardwalk could withstand the traffic and the coastal elements, without disrupting the nature surrounding it.


By constructing a PermaTrak concrete boardwalk and extending the existing trail system, visitors can now walk, bike, run, and enjoy the wildlife refuge from a new perspective. Designers at Burgess & Niple included an observation deck from the boardwalk for wildlife viewing.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife now has a commercial boardwalk system that can handle the heavy usage, in a sensitive environment. “The main thing that made the product a great fit for the site is that it was a wetland environment,” said Randy Swift of Harkins Contracting, Inc. “Using PermaTrak eliminates any concern of wetland contamination from the normal materials that would have been used to form and pour concrete or blacktop. All we needed was a crane to set the planks and a truck for delivery. All in all, I feel it’s a great product that fits the environment well.”

Location: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Designer: Burgess & Niple
Contractor: Harkins Contracting, Inc.

Technical Description

Boardwalk Length(s): 700 ft.
Tread Width(s): 11 ft. 3 in.
Color: Savannah Brown
Texture: Timber
Installation Date: January 2012