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[ft-l] Cumberland Island news

Well, this is just the latest salvo in a thirty year battle by a few island residents and outside developers who would like the wilderness designation lifted so vehicles would have access to the island and the 2,000 or so acres of private property on the island could be developed a la St Simons. In fact, it was the construction of an airfield by St Simons developer Charles Fraser that lead to a coalition of environmentalists and historical trusts (Carnegie and Mellon) that bought the vast majority of the island and handed it over to the NPS in 1972 so the history and ecology of the island could be preserved.  

It is classified as wilderness by the NPS to restrict vehicle access.  As it stands now only a very few vehicles are allowed on the island - those of year-round residents and the NPS.  Revoking the wilderness status for the island will allow vehicles in and open the way for tour operators, visiting by familly autos, and create even more pressure for development of motels, restaurants, private estate homes, etc.  

Personally, I think we have plenty of places that we can visit by auto and not enough that require folks to walk.  I disagree with the congressmen who say that not everyone has access.  Anyone who can afford a few bucks for the ferry and who wants to go out there to camp or to take the historical tours can do so.  They just can't take their cars.  Even with all the restrictions on access and length of stay the park receives over 50,000 visitors per year, and that doesn't include the residents and their invited guests.


  Does anyone consider the site of the Kennedy wedding really wilderness?

    Though you would be interested.  From what I read here, I'm agin' it!  Tell Congress to go find some other island to mess with!

    John Wakefield
    Clay County
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