Savannah Riverkeeper strongly opposes initiating a day use fee at Lazaretto Creek. This has long been a crucial boat ramp for a diversity of community members for uses including fishing, shrimping, boating, kayaking, family outings, and more. Folks from all walks of life in Savannah rely on only a few access points to tidal creeks and wilderness. At $10/day or $50/year, an imposed fee will create a barrier for many. That is a huge concern. While we understand that the National Parks System is facing budget constraints, our public waterways should remain readily accessible and free of charge for all people. We encourage community members to attend the public meeting Tuesday 10/15, to learn more, and we urge the NPS to explore what alternatives may be available for funding maintenance of this important resource without placing the burden on individual users.
From the National Park Service
Fort Pulaski National Monument » Proposed Day Use Fee at Lazaretto Creek Area
The Lazaretto Creek area of the park is located along U.S. Highway 80 between the park entrance station and the Lazaretto Creek Bridge and features a boat ramp, fishing pier, and vehicle parking. The area is the gateway to a number of destinations favored by recreational boaters and fishermen as well as McQueen's Island and over 5,000 acres of pristine salt marsh and eligible Wilderness. Twenty year agreements to manage the area with Chatham County Parks and Recreation and Georgia Department of Natural Resources expired in 2015.
After meeting with the County after Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, it was mutually decided that the National Park Service (NPS) would be in a better position to manage the site moving forward. In July 2019, the Fort Pulaski National Monument resumed active day to day management of the area. The Monument will continue to work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to look for partnership opportunities to maintain and make improvements to access resources under the State's jurisdiction.
The Fort Pulaski management team recently completed a detailed economic analysis comparing the proposed fee in comparison to other local and NPS publicly accessible boat ramps. The proposed fees are $10 per vehicle, per day or $50 per vehicle, per year. These new fees are anticipated to go into effect on January 1, 2020.
The additional revenue generated will be used to maintain existing facilities, monitor park resources, increase security, and develop the area for future public use. Fees allow the NPS to invest in the improvements necessary to provide the best possible park experience to our visitors. Ongoing projects at Fort Pulaski National Monument are funded under the authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and address high priority park needs.
A public open house will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Pulaski Visitor Center. Management and staff will be available to answer questions and discuss the proposed fee in more detail, and provide an opportunity for the public to comment. Contact Information: Joel Cadoff, NPS, 912-786-8182 extension 1103. To view the proposal and to submit your public comment by the deadline October 26, click here.