Vehicle Tours Update
In response to numerous letters from Wild Cumberland members and supporters regarding the island vehicle tours, Superintendent Boyles offered the following reply:
“The National Park Service (NPS) is following legislation passed by Congress in 2004 to implement tours to the North End of Cumberland Island. The legislation directed the park to offer a minimum of five tours daily and a
maximum of eight tours daily. Since the signing of the Finding of No Significant Impact in May 2009, the park completed a feasibility study of the tours and saw the need for a transition plan that will allow the park
to start with a more limited level of tours.
After receiving a Solicitor’s opinion that was favorable to the transition concept, the park moved ahead
with obtaining approval to start the program. The Transition program will consist of two tours per day offered Monday through Friday, and three tours per day offered on weekends and holidays. The fee for the tours will be
$15 for adults and $12 for children and seniors (this is over and above the park entrance fee and the concession ferry fee). The park is seeking to make the service as cost effective as possible and to cover as much of the
cost of operation through the fees generated from the tours.
The tours will make use of the existing road and will not include beach driving. The primary tour stops will be Plum Orchard and the Settlement where visitors can see the First African Baptist Church. ”
In this case, the National Park Service is trying to make the best of a very bad situation. They are required by law to conduct the tours, so they are attempting to minimize their impact.
The best long-term solution is to change the legislation, which would end the tours and restore the wilderness boundaries on the north end. This can only happen through an act of Congress. Contact your local representatives to express your concern about numerous vehicles constantly rumbling through the Cumberland Island Wilderness, and encourage them to support legislation restoring the wilderness.