Local, Regional and National Environmental Groups would like to try and hoodwink our local community but more importantly our local politicians, about Cumberland Island. As many of you know we ran a recent article about the ongoing debate whether 90 acres of Cumberland Island should be given a variance so homes could be built on the island.
The Camden County Planing Commission passed a variance last December that would allow 90 acres of the island to be rezoned to allow unpaved roads. This would allow the current owners of that property to build family compounds. Cumberland Island is over 17 miles long, nearly 56,000 acres and just about 1000 acres remains in private hands. So we are only talking about a variance for 97 acres.
The problem for our Environmental friends is that they are claiming that any construction on Cumberland Island will destroy the island for generations to come. Are they basing this on real knowledge or just their attempt to push their selfish agenda down our throats?
Many of these same people were adamantly against Kinder Morgan using “Eminent Domain” to take property for the Palmetto Pipeline. They based a large part of their argument against the pipeline based on this and effectively rallied the private owners using this tactic. Now many of the same people are trying to stop local private property land owners their legal right to use their land as they would like to use it.
But their argument falls apart when you look at the facts. We will try to lay this out for you. Cumberland Island has been labeled a “National Seashore”. By the National park Service. These “Seashores” were established by an act of Congress. Currently there are 10 National Seashores
- Assateague Island – Has a 2 mile road for visitor vehicle travel, allows 4 wheel drive vehicles on the beach, camping is allowed with room for RVs.
- Canaveral – Next to John F. Kennedy Space Center
- Cape Cod – Has several towns within the National Seashore itself. Largest being Provincetown with a summer population over 60000
- Cape Hatteras – Off road vehicles are permitted during certain months of the year because of turtle and bird nesting. But are permitted during the non-nesting months
- Cape Lookout – Vacation Cabins are available for rent
- Cumberland Island – Homes currently exist and there is vehicle traffic on island
- Fire Island – 17 towns/villages within Fire Island SeaShore
- Gulf island – Portions allow vehicle traffic on island, RV camping is allowed
- Padre Island – Allows 4 wheel drive vehicles on beach. Oil and Natural Gas drilling is allowed in the park
- Point Reyes – Camping and trail bikes allowed
As you can see from the list above, man and National Seashore can coexist. In fact in every case above man and nature have coexisted for decades with no real environmental issues. In the research that we did on the 10 National Seashores we found very few environmentalist complaints about the other 9 parks.
So what does this say for the current situation with Cumberland Island? It says volumes. Remember that there are currently people living on Cumberland Island. There are several families, along with Park personnel that live there year around. From what we can tell there are no environmental issues with these families living on the island. 60,000 people a year visit Cumberland on day trips and camping trips with no harm to Cumberland’s “precious” eco-system. If the other 9 National Seashores have been able to coexist with nature for decades what is the fuss about Cumberland?
It all comes down to an agenda. The people who oppose the variance are pushing their selfish agenda on to the rest of it. Let’s face it they are pretty damn good at it. They did a decent job on rallying private land owners against Kinder Morgan for using eminent domain. However, they refuse to give the private land owners of Cumberland Island the same courtesy.
Now it looks like Alex Kearns, the EarthKeepers and St Marys Councilman Bob Nutter were able to convince the cowards on the St Marys City Council to tell the Camden County Commissioners to strike the down the variance that they passed back in December. What did they based their facts on? The selfish agenda of local and regional environmental groups.
There is a big difference between the County Commissioners and the St Marys City Council. The Commissioners are not cowards and do not like to be told what to do by outsiders. They have a spine and that is what our City Council dearly lacks.
Bottom Line – We have produced a very slick PowerPoint presentation on this that we will share with the County Commissioners. It goes into greater details than we did above, along with background on those groups opposing the variance.
This variance can easily be upheld based upon the facts we presented here.