Defend Cumberland Islands Wilderness
Although many disagree with the legislation mandating the proposed tours to the north historic district of Cumberland Island and the removal of the roads from wilderness designation, I realize you must do your best to fulfill the requirements of the Public Law 108-447.
However, both Alternatives 2 and 3 far exceed the legislatively mandated requirements. PL 108-447 requires five to eight trips be offered per day to the historic district north of Plum Orchard Spur. It does not require increased visitor access to the wilderness area.
Both alternatives include a shuttle service to points adjacent to the wilderness area. This is in direct conflict with wilderness values and will have major, not minor, impacts on the wilderness, which was established in 1982, also by law, and must be protected. The proposed transportation management plan offers no alternative that protects the wilderness area north of Stafford.
Therefore, please go back to the drawing board and revise your proposed alternatives, keeping in mind the following:
A single trip should consist of no more than 12 individuals in one vehicle, which is more in line with other wilderness group size limitations within the NPS system. Furthermore, the speed limit should be lowered to 15 miles per hour to protect such wildlife as the gopher tortoise and indigo snake.
A north-end shuttle service should not simply drop visitors off north with coolers and packs, strollers, etc., in the areas north of Stafford, such as at Wilderness trailheads and other sites not in the Historic District. This shuttle plan should be deleted from any proposal since there is no possible way to adequately monitor the impact and it does not meet the goal of PL 108-447.
Only supervised, guided and disabled-accessible trips and tours should be provided to High Point/Half-Moon Bluff. This will lessen the impact on natural and cultural resources and significantly enhance the visitor experience by providing cultural and historical background.
I look forward to reviewing and commenting on a revised Transportation Management Plan.
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