Senator Saxby Chambliss [R-Ga] was in Camden County on June 1st, speaking with the Rotary Club of Camden County and residents about current issues and touring Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. The senator and two of his staff members then had a tour of Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Senator Chambliss had never been to the park before last Friday but he wanted to experience its history and get a firsthand look at effects of the 2004 legislation he proposed which called for a transportation plan on the island. He said he felt that the island is so gorgeous and that there is so much history on it that he wanted to make it possible for tourists to come and be able to gain access to remote parts of the island that they would never have been able to get to before. He said that the extensive rehabilitation project at Plum Orchard Mansion is partially possible because the main road was removed from wilderness designation.
Senator Chambliss said that, before he proposed the legislation, he was shown examples of the structures on Cumberland Island by the park service and conservation groups, who explained the difficulty in maintaining the buildings, as well as the limitations to tourism. He said he realized the decision was tough and that it would be controversial but he felt the history had to be preserved and maintained, as well as appreciated by others. He said that there are conservation groups who were opposed to the legislation but now agree it was the right thing to do.