Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cumberland Island :: The Marsh and Dunes

The Ranger Guided Tour was complete after leaving Dungeness and we were on our own to explore the Island for the next four hours.

In 1971, the Carnegie family donated much of their land on Cumberland Island to the National Park Foundation. Their donation, along with other private funding, helped to create the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Some descendants of the Carnegie family still live there but the National Park Service now owns about 90% of the Island.

The Island is 17.5 miles long. Except for bicycles, which can be rented at the Sea Camp Dock, walking is the only mode of transportation available for visitors. For day-trippers, the amount of time on the Island is governed by the ferry. With a 9:45 am arrival and 4:45 pm departure time, you're not going to cover a lot of ground. I didn't get any further north than the Sea Camp area. There is much more to see on the Island. To fully appreciate it you'd have to stay for several days, but it would be worth the effort to do so.

Continuing on down the road you walk past some of the buildings that housed the several hundred servants and staff that worked for the Carnegie family. There is a band of about 200 feral horses that inhabit the island. They roam at will going wherever they want. The few that I saw were in the Dungeness Ruins area.

A little further, the road turns into a sandy path with trails leading to the marsh on the sound side of the Island and another that goes to the beach on the ocean side. A very nice boardwalk takes you through a portion of the marsh, across the dunes and onto the beach.

To be continued...

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