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Chincoteague, Va. — Over the years, residents and tourists in this picturesque resort town have been guided by five gentle words: “Relax, you’re on island time.” But these days, laid-back Chincoteague is on edge. In a new plan to deal with beach erosion and prepare for sea-level rise, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes that the mayor, the chamber of commerce and homeowners say would eventually drive away summer tourism and drive down the economy that depends on it. Some of those changes would involve closing the beach and its parking lot, then opening a beach with parking farther away and shuttling tourists.

Darryl Fears, who reported this story for the Washington Post, is a former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.