November 30, 2018 – December 2, 2018 all-day
Cumberland Island
Gwyneth Moody
St. Mary's Hidden Gem @ Cumberland Island

Join Georgia River Network on the St. Mary’s Water Trail for this special Georgia Gem Event. Participants will enjoy delicious meals, live entertainment and tent camping near the beach under gorgeous live oak and palmetto forest. There will be fascinating presentations about wildlife, local lore, coastal restoration efforts and an opportunity to enjoy and explore Cumberland Island by kayak/foot/bicycle. Register at https://www.bigtickets.com/events/garivers/cumberlandgem

Tickets are available for either:

Physically fit paddlers with an intermediate level of sea kayaking experience who would like to join the group paddle from the mainland to Cumberland Island, or

Those who would like to take the ferry across to enjoy the weekend event.

A Project of Georgia River Network in partnership with St. Marys Riverkeeper

Journey Details

“St. Marys is the gateway to Cumberland Island, Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island. Here pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes whisper the stories of both man and nature. Natives, missionaries, enslaved African Americans and Wealthy Industrialists all walked here. Cumberland Island is also home to over 9,800 acres of Congressionally designated Wilderness.” National Park Service Website

Participants will enjoy paddling/taking the ferry through the Golden Isles of Coastal Georgia from the historic town of St Marys through marsh, open/blue water, and along the south end of Cumberland island to our destination at Dungeness. We will camp at ‘Sea Camp’ Friday and Saturday night. The campsites are primitive without electricity or plumbing however it is only a short walk to the bathhouse which has cold showers. We will travel over to the island Friday afternoon, set up camp, relax and enjoy a delicious catered dinner. We will spend Saturday on Cumberland exploring by kayak/ foot/ bicycle and enjoy educational presentations/programs followed by dinner and live evening entertainment. We will pack up Sunday morning and return to the mainland after enjoying our last hot breakfast on the island!

Marsh Kayak on Cumberland
On Saturday, our paddling guides will lead those interested with kayaks on a 4 hour paddling adventure (including lunch and a walk-about) through the wildlife rich marshes of Cumberland. We will depart Dungeness Dock southbound for Beach Creek entrance, then up Beach Creek to “The Grange” and rear of Dungeness Ruins. We can get out and walk around a bit at this point to explore the Greene-Miller Cemetery nearby. Beach Creek is a twisty tidal creek, fairly deep in the channel, with mud flats during low tides, and plenty of Spartina and other marsh grasses. Lots of birds, some otters and other wildlife abound. We will arrive back to camp by early afternoon.

Special Program by Carol Ruckdeschel (TBD)

A special program will be given by Carol Ruckdeschel referred to as the “Road Kill Eating, Bareback Riding, Wild Woman of Cumberland Island” in the 2014 biography Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island, by Will Harlan. Ruckdeschel was instrumental in the creation and preservation of Cumberland Island National Seashore and does ongoing research on sea turtles and endangered and extinct species around the Georgia coast.

Bioluminescent Night Hike led by Dr. Barry O’neill

Dr. Barry O’Neill, a long time Cumberland Island enthusiast, will provide a 3 mile night hike to Dungeness dock and mansion Friday night. Wanna know how to sniff out wolf spiders, enjoy the bioluminescence of dinoflagellates in the intracoastal waters, identify the major winter constellations, learn how the zodiac constellations were selected by the ancients, understand the navigational importance of the North Star, and even find out if you are a truly altruistic soul? Then join us!

Day 1) Friday, Nov. 30: St. Mary’s (Mainland) to Dungeness Dock (Cumberland Island) – 7 miles
Day 2) Saturday, Dec. 1: Spend the day exploring Cumberland Island, enjoy presentations/programs, biking or hiking to historic sites, fossil finding, and beach combing
Day 3) Sunday, Dec. 2: Dungeness Dock (Cumberland Island) to St. Mary’s (Mainland) – 7 miles

Registration Information

Paddling spots will be limited to physically fit participants with intermediate open/blue water kayaking experience. However, tickets are also available for those who would like to join us on Cumberland for the weekend event but not paddle. While paddlers will be led by experienced local guides, none will be prepared to pull paddlers who tire from lack of fitness. Paddlers must have an intermediate level of physical fitness.

Tickets are available to accommodate experienced sea kayakers desiring to join the group paddling from the mainland to Cumberland Island, as well as for those who would like to take the ferry across and enjoy the weekend event. While paddlers will be led by experienced local guides, none will be prepared to pull paddlers who tire from lack of fitness. Paddlers must have an intermediate level of physical fitness. We will not allow anyone to paddle a recreational kayak!

Registration Fees include T-shirt, Map, NPS Day Use Fee, Camping Fee, ACA Insurance, Ferry, and Dinners, Lunches, and Hot Breakfasts.

Island Paddler Hidden Gem Ticket: Participants must be physically fit with intermedite sea kayaking experience and able to paddle from the mainland to Cumberland Island (7 miles) on Friday and make the return journey on Sunday.

Island Ferry Hidden Gem Ticket: This ticket is for those who would like to participate in the weekend event by taking the ferry to/from the mainland to Cumberland.