Managed by the National Park Service, Cumberland Island Wilderness protects sparkling white beaches and sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and saltwater marshes. It is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier against seaborne storms. The island measures about 16 miles in length and 3 miles at its’ widest, with approximately 1 mile of water and marshland separating it from the mainland. A maritime forest is the centerpiece of the island, providing shade for the deer that attract hunters during six managed hunts. When the hunters appear (usually a few days every month from November through February), visitation and camping are restricted on parts of the island. The first-rate surf fishing attracts another kind of hunter (Georgia fishing license is required). Attractions include the ruins of Thomas Carnegie's Dungeness Mansion, built in the late 1800s, a short walk from the ferry dock on the southern end of the island. Alligators, loggerhead turtles, and pelicans live on the beaches. The northern portion of the island has been designated Wilderness, starting approximately four miles north of the ferry dock (you have to take a passenger ferry to get here from the mainland). For most of the year, insect repellent is strongly recommended for campers. Additionally, beach access is allowed only at designated dune crossings.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cumberland Island Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005 - Public law 108-447 (12/8/2004) To designate the Gaylord A. Nelson National Wilderness and to adjust the boundary of the Cumberland Island Wilderness, to authorize tours of the Cumberland Island National Seashore, and for other purposes.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.