The Mission of The Cumberland Island Conservancy, Inc. is:
TO SUPPORT educational and scientific research on Cumberland Island, Georgia.
TO PROVIDE monetary and physical support for the preservation of Cumberland Island, and to work with the National Park Service as co-stewards in preserving this great natural, cultural, and historical resource.
TO AID in the dissemination of educational and scientific information regarding Cumberland Island to the National Park Service, the public at large, and the residents of Cumberland Island.
An integral part of the mission of the Conservancy is to serve as a co-steward of the natural, cultural, and historical resources of Cumberland Island with the National Park Service to provide a rich and rewarding experience for the visitors to the Seashore. We are not a political organization and we do not support groups who claim to “save” Cumberland Island.
Cumberland Island has already been saved. It was saved from commercial development by the Congressional legislation of 1972 establishing the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Our mission is to work with the National Park Service, to support it and its activities, and to advise it on issues where the Conservancy feels that it will be helpful. The Conservancy is an active co-steward, not an activist group.
The Conservancy does not want Cumberland Island to be just another tourist destination. At the same time, human activity has been part of the Island’s heritage and is one element that makes Cumberland Island so special. The Conservancy is continually striving to find a balance between allowing the public full access to their National Park and preserving the fragile ecosystem for generations to come.
Some of the projects the Conservancy has worked on with the National Park Service include:
1. The Conservancy was instrumental in negotiating the access across private property to provide the Alternative Trail traversing the middle of the Island. This continual privilege of the public to use private property is intended to allow the visitors to hike up and down the Island from the Sea Camp area to Stafford without experiencing automobile traffic. The Conservancy is instrumental in continuing to provide this access for visitors.
2. The Conservancy provided a grant to the National Park Service for the purchase of high tech equipment with which to provide state-of-the-art video of the highlights of Cumberland Island. It is shown at the Sea Camp station for guests leaving Cumberland.
3. The Conservancy, in conjunction with the National Park Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, is active in ongoing shore bird research. This has included the research surrounding the nesting habits of terns, as well as a much-needed research project for the oyster catcher.
4. The Conservancy has been active in the research surrounding the nesting of the large sea turtles for Cumberland.
5. The Conservancy has sponsored retreats to the Island for artists and writers. Many of these visitors carried home with them the glimpses of transformation that help us as individuals go from one place to another spiritually.
6. The Conservancy has supported a creative symposium emphasizing dance and the natural environment as a medium for the expression of love, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness. A part of the symposium was an impromptu dance at Plum Orchard.
Our experience has been that whether it be a superintendent, a ranger, or a volunteer tour guide, the vast majority of the individuals comprising the National Park Service team are dedicated individuals who strive to carry out the mandates of Congress. Above all, these mandates provide for conservation of the natural, historical, and cultural resources of Cumberland Island.