Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cumberland Wilderness, Wildlife & Violations

Cumberland Island NS: Week 3

        This past week at Cumberland Island National Seashore, I've started to figure out and witness the types of crimes and issues that occur. CUIS has had two arrests this year. Both perpetrators were charged with possession of a controlled substance, 36 CFR§ 2.35(b)(2). One was also charged with being under the influence of alcohol, 36 CFR§ 2.35(c). Both of the arrests involved marijuana.
         As you know from my previous blog posts, emergency medical services has been the most frequent issue. Another big problem on the island is wildlife protection. Hunting and fishing are permitted on the island. Possessing unlawfully taken wildlife, 36 CFR§ 2.2(a)(3) occasionally occurs and has been a problem here in the past. Many visitors touch and disturb the wildlife, 36 CFR § 2.2(a)(2). The park is jam packed with wildlife but this issue most often occurs with the horses and manatees. This becomes an even bigger issue because the manatees are protected under the Endanger Species Act of 1973. This is not covered in the 36 CFR, it would be processed as a criminal complaint, 16 USCS § 1540.  I have already experienced visitors getting too close and touching both the horses and manatees. The horses are dangerous and can become very aggressive. A visitor this summer had to get helicoptered off the island for getting kicked by a horse right before I arrived. For those of you that know me, you know the touching and disturbing of wildlife really grinds my gears and I enjoy enforcing these codes. I've dealt with this issue last summer at Assateague Island NS as well. I expect this to continue to be a problem throughout the summer.
        Violations to the 1964 Wilderness Act, 16 USCS§ 1133(c) are a big problem. This act states that mechanical transports are prohibited in designated wilderness areas. Many of the private residents drive their vehicles on trails that are through wilderness areas. On CUIS there is about 9,800 acres of designated wilderness. These are some violations that law enforcement activities are currently focusing on.

Manatees swimming right next to the dock

The island is only accessible by boat or aircraft, so I've gained some great exposure to boating. For those of you that know me, know I'm very uneasy on a bicycle. I've decided to overcome this obstacle and work on my bike riding skills. I'm getting better at all different modes of transportation. So far so good!

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