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Old 02-01-2017, 06:55 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 36,391,377 times
Reputation: 15465

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Clearly our coastline is one of the state's most cherished assets, and the delicate nature of its' ecosystem demands a degree of protection on an institutional level. No argument there.
However, a recent issue that has arisen on Cumberland Island pushes to me to revisit the question: How much is too much?
The situation I reference relates to a request by the Candler family to further subdivide their (I repeat, their) land to accommodate future heirs that may want to build vacation homes there. Camden County appears to deem the request as reasonable, but the environmental camp is of course raising objections, specifically citing the proximity of the Candler land (1/2 mile) to a public campground.

Homes planned for Cumberland Island rattle environmentalists

Most know of the Carnegie family and their history on the island, having established what became a family compound in the late 19th century. Many do not know that the Candler family has been on the island almost as long and maintained vacation retreats there long before the island became a National Seashore in 1972. By all appearances both families have maintained a peaceful co-existence with the U.S. Forest Service since that time and have been good stewards of their environment. To me, the request seems reasonable and does not threaten the island's ecosystem in any meaningful way.
But the situation begs the bigger question: How much protection is too much? As is, most visitors to the island under government protection must have a stated (and documented) purpose (usually scientific/academic) for doing so. So many citizens are largely denied easy access to these islands when they in fact contribute tax revenues for their maintenance. Meanwhile, for years state bureaucrats have turned some of these islands into their personal fiefdoms, instituting in some cases policies that I would deem reckless (Case in point is the wanton killing of wild Ossabaw pigs to cull their numbers. I understand the purpose, but there is no plan for the reuse of the hog meat, which has great value in the artisanal foods market).
We've touched on this topic only lightly before on the forum; Newsboy in particular advocated better access to Wassaw beaches, particularly for those in the Savannah area. Would love to hear your thoughts, particularly those of you living in coastal Georgia.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Ono Island, Orange Beach, AL
10,215 posts, read 9,884,191 times
Reputation: 5897
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovinDecatur View Post
Clearly our coastline is one of the state's most cherished assets, and the delicate nature of its' ecosystem demands a degree of protection on an institutional level. No argument there.
However, a recent issue that has arisen on Cumberland Island pushes to me to revisit the question: How much is too much?
The situation I reference relates to a request by the Candler family to further subdivide their (I repeat, their) land to accommodate future heirs that may want to build vacation homes there. Camden County appears to deem the request as reasonable, but the environmental camp is of course raising objections, specifically citing the proximity of the Candler land (1/2 mile) to a public campground.

Homes planned for Cumberland Island rattle environmentalists

Most know of the Carnegie family and their history on the island, having established what became a family compound in the late 19th century. Many do not know that the Candler family has been on the island almost as long and maintained vacation retreats there long before the island became a National Seashore in 1972. By all appearances both families have maintained a peaceful co-existence with the U.S. Forest Service since that time and have been good stewards of their environment. To me, the request seems reasonable and does not threaten the island's ecosystem in any meaningful way.
But the situation begs the bigger question: How much protection is too much? As is, most visitors to the island under government protection must have a stated (and documented) purpose (usually scientific/academic) for doing so. So many citizens are largely denied easy access to these islands when they in fact contribute tax revenues for their maintenance. Meanwhile, for years state bureaucrats have turned some of these islands into their personal fiefdoms, instituting in some cases policies that I would deem reckless (Case in point is the wanton killing of wild Ossabaw pigs to cull their numbers. I understand the purpose, but there is no plan for the reuse of the hog meat, which has great value in the artisanal foods market).
We've touched on this topic only lightly before on the forum; Newsboy in particular advocated better access to Wassaw beaches, particularly for those in the Savannah area. Would love to hear your thoughts, particularly those of you living in coastal Georgia.
Great issue to ponder. I would think that if a family wants to divide their land for heirs and those heirs build only single family residences in a way that does not negatively impact wetlands, dunes or speed erosion, then it should be okay. As for your broader discussion (taxpayer access), I'm okay with limited access. Sometimes preserving nature is far more important than tourism. And, for the Ossabaw pigs - I understand culling to protect the herd, but not using the meat is shameful.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,683 posts, read 17,790,693 times
Reputation: 9872
I have always advocated for limited controlled development on Georgia's barrier islands, as a means to help maintain them financially as well as to open them up for enjoyment of the people who own them -- the citizens. It's ridiculous to me that the state and federal governments own so much valuable and beautiful resources that the general public is pretty much forbidden to see. What would be wrong, for example, about allowing one large upscale resort on Cumberland (like they have in national parks out west) or on Ossabaw (like the state operates in several state parks). Both would still be accessed only by ferrry and thus strictly controlled.

Privately owned property on the coast (like on Sapelo) is a different story; they should be allowed to develop those islands as they see fit. But the conservationist nutjobs want to deny potentially millions of dollars in profit to the native black families who've been there since slavery. I think a happy compromise could be reached. It's not like Sapelo is gonna become Myrtle Beach, or even Hilton Head Island. But it could be like Defauskie.

As for the Cumberland Island saga, I was fascinated by the fact that Camden County government still had any say-so on the island whatsoever. I figured they had abdicated that to the Feds years ago.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:29 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 36,391,377 times
Reputation: 15465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
I have always advocated for limited controlled development on Georgia's barrier islands, as a means to help maintain them financially as well as to open them up for enjoyment of the people who own them -- the citizens. It's ridiculous to me that the state and federal governments own so much valuable and beautiful resources that the general public is pretty much forbidden to see. What would be wrong, for example, about allowing one large upscale resort on Cumberland (like they have in national parks out west) or on Ossabaw (like the state operates in several state parks). Both would still be accessed only by ferrry and thus strictly controlled.

Privately owned property on the coast (like on Sapelo) is a different story; they should be allowed to develop those islands as they see fit. But the conservationist nutjobs want to deny potentially millions of dollars in profit to the native black families who've been there since slavery. I think a happy compromise could be reached. It's not like Sapelo is gonna become Myrtle Beach, or even Hilton Head Island. But it could be like Defauskie.

As for the Cumberland Island saga, I was fascinated by the fact that Camden County government still had any say-so on the island whatsoever. I figured they had abdicated that to the Feds years ago.
Until recently I was under the impression that residents of Cumberland were enjoying a life estate in lieu of outright ownership (with some residents, like environmentalist Carol Ruckdeschel, this is the case), but apparently that is not the case with the Candler and Carnegie families; they own outright and answer to Camden County, not the feds.
I have come to embrace your POV; your Daytona Beach crowd is not going to be drawn to Cumberland's offerings anyway. Those that want to explore the island are generally going to be respectful of set boundaries (ie markers for turtle nests) and will have an appreciation for what is there. It ain't gonna be Bud and weenies on the beach.
Wassaw Island is arguably one of the last remaining examples of a primeval maritime forest (it was never cultivated) left in its' pristine state on the Eastern Seaboard. But what good is that to you and me if we can't go and experience it without jumping through multiple bureaucratic hoops? Environmentalists seem to work under the delusion that the mere presence of Homo Sapiens will bring the complete collapse of an ecosystem. I would be totally supportive of a regular ferry there and even trolley transportation or jeep rental; the dock, utility buildings and road system are already there. Just think...another jewel in Savannah's increasingly shiny crown!
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:43 PM
 
Location: The South
5,800 posts, read 4,026,248 times
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Just be thankful the State of Georgia hasn't gotten control of Cumberland. Jekyll Island come to mind.
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:10 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 36,391,377 times
Reputation: 15465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
What would be wrong, for example, about allowing one large upscale resort on Cumberland (like they have in national parks out west) or on Ossabaw (like the state operates in several state parks). Both would still be accessed only by ferry and thus strictly controlled.
I'm really glad you brought this up, as it has been on my mind as well. Grand (and enormous) mansions are sitting moribund on both Cumberland and Ossabaw; while the government wrings its hands over the lack of available funds to rehabilitate them, they're rapidly reaching the Point of No Return. Look at Plum Orchard; it's absolutely spectacular, not to mention large enough to convert to an inn (the Carnegies have already successfully accomplished this with the neighboring family estate Greyfield).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_Orchard

Homepage - Greyfield Inn

The Torrey Mansion on Ossabaw has 15 bedrooms, each with its' own bath. It's an architectural marvel. The house is accessible from Savannah via the Ogeechee River and has its' own dock facility.

https://herwonderlust.files.wordpres...se-morning.jpg

Considering the success of other hotels that are privately run but reside upon government land in Georgia ie the Greyfield Inn and Jekyll Island Club Hotel, I think that it's a pretty sound idea.
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Old 02-01-2017, 01:18 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 36,391,377 times
Reputation: 15465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern man View Post
Just be thankful the State of Georgia hasn't gotten control of Cumberland. Jekyll Island come to mind.
I agree that the state was doing a pretty crummy job of running the facilities up until about five years ago. Then things took a dramatic turn for the better.

Welcome to Jekyll Island | Jekyll Island – Georgia's Vacation, Conservation and Educational Location
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,683 posts, read 17,790,693 times
Reputation: 9872
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovinDecatur View Post
I'm really glad you brought this up, as it has been on my mind as well. Grand (and enormous) mansions are sitting moribund on both Cumberland and Ossabaw; while the government wrings its hands over the lack of available funds to rehabilitate them, they're rapidly reaching the Point of No Return. Look at Plum Orchard; it's absolutely spectacular, not to mention large enough to convert to an inn (the Carnegies have already successfully accomplished this with the neighboring family estate Greyfield).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_Orchard

Homepage - Greyfield Inn

The Torrey Mansion on Ossabaw has 15 bedrooms, each with its' own bath. It's an architectural marvel. The house is accessible from Savannah via the Ogeechee River and has its' own dock facility.

https://herwonderlust.files.wordpres...se-morning.jpg

Considering the success of other hotels that are privately run but reside upon government land in Georgia ie the Greyfield Inn and Jekyll Island Club Hotel, I think that it's a pretty sound idea.
A friend operates day excursions to Wassaw Island from a marina on Skidaway. I'm not sure who owns the service or how it's authorized but I do know it ain't cheap.

Can you imagine the possibilities if somebody like Ritz Carlton or Richard Kessler were allowed to operate Plum Orchard as a luxury boutique inn?

Last edited by Newsboy; 02-01-2017 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,683 posts, read 17,790,693 times
Reputation: 9872
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovinDecatur View Post
I agree that the state was doing a pretty crummy job of running the facilities up until about five years ago. Then things took a dramatic turn for the better.

Welcome to Jekyll Island | Jekyll Island – Georgia's Vacation, Conservation and Educational Location
The changes and improvements at Jekyll have been fantastic and long overdue. The state authority that oversees Jekyll has done an outstanding job IMO. I predict that in a few years it's gonna be a major destination again for Metro Atlanta families.

Now, if they can only wrest those ridiculously cheap (criminal) land leases away from the private homeowners on Jekyll and start replacing some of that decrepit housing stock. Some of the homes (particularly on the west side) are mid-century architectural gems and probably belong on the Historic Register, but just as many more (mostly on the beach side for some odd reason) are ugly as hell and in disrepair.
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Old 02-01-2017, 02:45 PM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,125 posts, read 36,391,377 times
Reputation: 15465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
Can you imagine the possibilities if somebody like Ritz Carlton or Richard Kessler were allowed to operate Plum Orchard as a luxury boutique inn?
It would be brilliant.

Ian Schrager would be another candidate for this; he built a career out of doing this very thing and pretty much invented the concept of the boutique hotel. I met him at a reception when I lived in NYC in the 80's. God, he was hot.

Ian Schrager ? Innovative Hospitality Entrepreneur ? Ian Schrager Company
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