The National Park Service recently announced that they will accept bids for a new ferry service to Cumberland Island. Now officials and local entrepreneurs in both St. Marys and Fernandina Beach are pushing to increase the number of daily visitors to the island in hopes that more tourism will stimulate their economies.
Wild Cumberland opposes an increase in the number of daily visitors to the island—to protect both the health of the island and the visitors’ experience. When Cumberland Island was made a National Seashore, Congress directed the National Park Service that “no development of the project or plan for the convenience of visitors shall be undertaken which would be incompatible with the preservation of the unique flora and fauna” (section 5b). Increasing the number of visitors will also directly increase the human impact on the island’s already fragile ecosystems and would contradict the very purpose for which Cumberland Island was preserved as a national seashore. Furthermore, the Wilderness Act indicates that an area is set aside for wilderness when it “has outstanding opportunities for solitude” (section 2c). Nature lovers cherish the increasingly rare opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet of lands untouched by the impacts of tourism and development.
Let officials know that you support the current limit of 300 visitors per day. You can click the “Take Action Now” link below to sign the petition. Even more effective are phone calls directly to National Park Service officials:
Superintendent Gary Ingram, Cumberland Island National Seashore (912) 882-4336