Today, Laura Buckmaster begins her 8 month-long Cumberland Island Trail Restoration Fellowship on Cumberland Island National Seashore. Her position is fully-funded by REI’s Every Trail Connects (ETC) campaign. Laura will be making weekly blog posts here and posting daily Instagram photos to update our members and supporters on her work (follow along at @cumberlandtrails on Instagram)!

Cumberland Island Trail Restoration Fellow Laura Buckmaster & REI Atlanta's Daniel Jesse

REI has given us the opportunity to make a legacy impact on a place we all deeply care about. The Georgia Conservancy played a key role in protecting Cumberland Island National Seashore in the 1960s and 70s, as well as advocating for the establishment of a Wilderness Area on the island in the early 1980s. Our annual Cumberland Island Service Weekends, held during the MLK Holiday, have had a tremendous impact on improvements to the island's trail systems and National Park Service (NPS) structures. Our Cumberland Island Trail Restoration Project looks to further that effort. 

Helping to re-establish the iconic backcountry trail system and to create the first professional and functional map in island history is a dream come true. We can’t thank REI and our supporters who voted for the Every Trails Connects project enough for this opportunity. We hope each of you has the chance to spend time on Cumberland and volunteer with us! 

We have a lot of work to do to achieve the goals set out in our ETC project proposal, but we’re confident that with hard work from Georgia Conservancy staff, NPS staff and our volunteer groups (of which there are many - thanks to the promotion behind Every Trail Connects), success is on the horizon.

During the next 8 months, Cumberland Island Trail Restoration Fellow Laura Buckmaster and Georgia Conservancy staff will keep you updated on our successes based on these goals:

  1. 100% of Cumberland Island National Seashore’s trail system will be open, clear and navigable by October 2016.

  2. Provide intensive and advanced trail engineering / re-routing on Willow Pond, Stafford Beach, Roller Coaster, Terrapin Point and Bunkley Trails. 

  3. Production of Cumberland’s first-ever professional wilderness hiking map with trail descriptions, GPS coordinates and trail mileage (Cumberland’s current maps are either non-specific, hand drawn and/or out of date)

  4. Improved interpretive and informative signage at trailheads not located within Cumberland’s wilderness.

  5. Renovations at Cumberland Island’s iconic Sea Camp Campground.

            - Clearing campsite spaces
            - Renovations to bath house and shower house
            - Improve interpretive and informative signage  

Now off to Cumberland! Check back for weekly updates during the next 8 months!