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Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 12:15pm

Plan Keeps Cumberland Island Wild

The National Park Service has made a final decision on what to do with seven homes that recently came into the agency's possession on Cumberland Island.

Officials say, the plan balances wilderness and visitation.

The perennial debate on the National Seashore accessible only by boat pits those arguing for more visitor access against those who want to keep the island wild.

A year ago, park officials proposed a plan that heeded both sides.

It will tear three homes down while leaving four.

One will become a student education center.

Seashore Superintendant Fred Boyles says, a decision to adopt the plan comes after years of planning and public comment.

"What this plan will give the National Park Service the ability to do is to ensure that we manage it in a primitive state but also allow for visitor services," Boyles says. "It allows the National Park Service to continue to in its mission of caring for resources and managing the National Seashore in a primitive state. So in some cases, we're actually removing structures and tearing them down. These are structures that we do not need."

The homes all came into the Seashore under 40-year agreements signed in the early 1970's.

Twelve more homes will become public property it in the coming decades.

You can read the entire plan by visiting this website.