Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island

Volume 4, Issue 2
Summer/Fall 2010


[Click on each title to read individual articles or scroll down to read the entire Newsletter]

IPJI’s Recommendations for Revision of Jekyll Island Master Plan Win Widespread Public Support

Jekyll Island Conservation Plan Moving Forward, at Last

Major Change Now Visible on Jekyll Island 

Gubernatorial Candidate Roy Barnes Responds to IPJI’s Jekyll Questionnaire

Remember Jekyll Island (“The Book about the Battle”) Wins Rave Reviews

Low-level Aerial Photos Highlight Spectacular Marshland on Jekyll’s West Side

Fund-Raising Drive Launched by IPJI

IPJI Creates a New Facebook Page

New IPJI Logo T-shirts Now Available

Song “Going Home to Jekyll Island” Captures Island’s Charm

Blog Offers Fresh Perspective on Jekyll Island's Redevelopment

IPJI Membership Continues to Grow

“Defend Jekyll” Bumper Sticker Campaign Rolls Along


On June 30, 2010, the Jekyll Island Authority issued a Request for Information (RFI) that will assist in revising the Jekyll Island Master Plan, which serves as the island’s governing document.

To help inform the JIA about public preferences for the Master Plan’s revision, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island has formulated a series of recommendations for mending the Master Plan and has invited public endorsements.  The recommendations—which largely call for limiting development to a maximum of 35 percent of the land area of Jekyll Island, promotion of the island’s affordability and accessibility, encouragement of nature-based tourism, and protection of the island's natural environment and traditional character—were co-signed by nearly 1,000 people as of September 12th.  IPJI extends a hearty THANK YOU to the folks who have endorsed our recommendations!

If you have not yet read and registered your support for IPJI’s Master Plan recommendations, please do so NOW by clicking here. The deadline for endorsements is September 16th.


On September 8th, the Jekyll Island Conservation Plan Committee (CPC) held a public meeting for the purpose of soliciting input for an island-wide conservation plan. Nearly one hundred people were in attendance, including representatives from the Center for a Sustainable Coast, the Glynn County Environmental Coalition, Altamaha Riverkeeper, and the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island. Also in attendance were William Ligon and Alex Atwood, who are running for the Georgia State Senate (District 3) and State House (District 179), respectively.

Terry Norton, who is chairing the CPC,  outlined the committee’s goals and then turned the meeting over to consultant Jay Exum, who fielded questions from the audience for some 90 minutes.

The meeting was videotaped by the Jekyll Island Authority and is available to  view at A Power Point presentation was made and can be seen by clicking here.
Below is sampling of some of the questions asked at the meeting. 
  • Will the conservation plan pertain to both the developed and natural areas of the island?
  • Will the plan help guide the JIA’s effort to redevelop and further develop Jekyll Island?
  • Why weren’t representatives of local conservation groups, such as the Center for a Sustainable Coast or the Glynn Environmental Coalition, who are knowledgeable about Jekyll Island and coastal ecology, included as members of the CPC?
  • How does the CPC plan to promote environmental education?
  • How will the CPC evaluate and help protect the health of the marsh and its waters?
  • In order to return Jekyll Island’s oceanfront to a healthy state, the dune structure demolished in the 1960s should be restored so the sand sharing system can become operative again. Will the Conservation Plan address this issue?
  • Could a continual increase in the number of Jekyll’s visitors ultimately be a problem for the island's ecology and natural resources?
  • How will the Conservation Plan and the Master Plan be integrated?

If you would like to make a comment for the Conservation Plan Committee to consider or ask a question, you may do so by writing to or Terry Norton at Please send a copy to


September 2010 will witness the beginning of the demolition of Jekyll Island’s convention and retail centers. The site of those facilities will become the home of a new and larger convention center, a 200-room, 4-star hotel, a 140 room upscale, mid-service hotel, an expanded retail center, and 60 condominiums (average sale price of $434,000) to be built as lofts above the retail shops. A third town center parcel—located on the site of the current beach deck parking area, adjacent to the Days Inn—is reserved for future lodging purposes. The height of the town center’s buildings, with the exception of the convention center, is expected to be four or five stories.

September 20th will mark the opening of Great Dunes Park, which is situated half-way between the current convention center and Blackbeard’s restaurant.  GDP will include a beach deck, restrooms, picnic tables, a children’s play area, and 195 parking slots. The park is built on the site that was to house the more than 400 condos and timeshares that were part of the original town center plan, which was put forward by Linger Longer Communities and initially backed by the JIA board.

September will also see the opening of the temporary retail center, which is located in the oceanfront parking lot just south of the Oceanside Inn & Suites.

In October, a temporary convention center will open on the east side of the Historic District. That facility will consist of a rebuilt and adapted Morgan Tennis Center and a pair of large tents adjacent to the MTC. After the new convention center opens in 2012,  the MTC will continue to serve as a meeting facility and will be operated by the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

To view pictures of the various sites, click here.


On September 6th, Roy Barnes, the Democratic Party’s candidate for Governor of Georgia, submitted answers to four questions that IPJI has put to the candidates running for Governor and those who hope to win the State Senate and House seats for the district that includes Jekyll Island.

Republican candidate Nathan Deal has yet to respond to repeated requests that he answer IPJI’s questionnaire. 

For Roy Barnes’ response to IPJI’s questionnaire, click here.

For responses from the candidates for the State Senate (District 3) and State House (District 179), click here.


Dr. Babs McDonald, who is a science writer, educator and editor of an international science education journal, has authored the first book-length account of the four-year history of the Jekyll redevelopment controversy. Entitled Remember Jekyll Island (Minneapolis: Langdon Street Press, 2010, $14.95),  the book is based on materials collected through the Georgia Open Records Act, JIA official records and statements, interviews with various people closely involved with the Jekyll redevelopment issue, and published literature dealing with public land planning and natural resource management.

Remember Jekyll Island has drawn considerable public attention. Most recently, Babs was interviewed on the radio show Georgia Focus, which is hosted by John Clark and heard on nearly 100 state-wide affiliated radio stations. Click here to listen to the interview.  For further information on Remember Jekyll Island or to purchase a copy, click here.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about the book:

“Remember Jekyll Island is an impassioned, impeccably researched book born out of alarm at the prospect of losing something precious. Here is a labor of immense love. Not only is it an account of the near theft by political operatives of Georgia’s Jekyll Island—a refuge belonging to the people—it is as well a treatise on the primacy of nature in our lives and a call for help.”
– Janise Ray, New York Times best-seller author of Ecology of Cracker Childhood

“Remember Jekyll Island is a thorough and detailed account of the Jekyll Island battle. Anyone who wants a good background on the bitter fight, and the many folks concerned about the future of Jekyll Island, should read this book. Remember Jekyll Island shows why we must be ever vigilant and ready to fight those—and there are a lot of them—who would sacrifice our natural heritage for a few lousy bucks. I never cease to be amazed over the power of greed, and this book shows how relentless and entrenched that power can be.” -- Charles Seabrook, award-winning environmental author and nature columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Any book that begins with the words "I love public land" and is dedicated to "the thousands of citizens who have consistently and persistently opposed... commercial, timeshare, and condominium development" on a coastal island should appeal to many people. The dedication goes on to acknowledge those "who work for the establishment, protection, and preservation of public lands everywhere." Although this book is about the commercial and political forces that threaten Jekyll Island State Park, Ga., the principles should resonate anywhere powerful individuals and corporations decide that personal profits should outweigh the preferences of the general public.” -- Whit Gibbons, The Aiken Standard, Aiken, South Carolina

“Based on her training and experience in outdoor recreation planning, McDonald’s book compares the Jekyll Island Authority’s planning process with professionally accepted standards and practices. Though based in Georgia, her book shows why citizens around the country increasingly mistrust governments and what should be done to fix the problem. The book presents a lively story of what happened on Jekyll Island against a backdrop of what she claims should have happened. Sometimes technical but always accessible, Remember Jekyll Island is also a treatise on the value of our public lands. If you’re interested in Jekyll Island’s future, in the future of any of our public lands, or in the overall transparency of government, then you should read this book.” -- Chuck Murphy, Naturalist and Nature Photographer


On August 25th, former Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland took nearly a hundred aerial photographs of the salt marsh adjacent to Jekyll Island. The photos offer a wonderful view of one of the richest providers of nutrients in the world and a habitat for a wide array of species of marine life and wildlife. While the marsh serves a number of practical purposes—including protection against flooding and erosion, and control and dissemination of pollutants—its spectacular expanse and picturesque qualities, which provide a  backdrop of unparallelled natural beauty for Jekyll Island and contribute to its magical charm, are what have long captivated the island’s visitors.  Technically not a part of Jekyll Island, the marsh nonetheless is integral to the island’s majesty.

Click here to view a selection of the marsh photos.


As many of you know, IPJI typically does not request financial contributions from its supporters. However, while IPJI has been able to keep up with most of its operational expenses through unsolicited donations and the support of several generous patrons, it is now incurring additional expenses for legal counsel in connection with several initiatives the organization is working on. IPJI is, therefore, launching a 30-day fund-raising drive so that it can continue the work it is now doing and fund its initiatives in the near future.  If you can afford to contribute to IPJI’s cause, in any amount, please do so either through the PayPal option on IPJI’s website or by mailing a check to IPJI, c/o Mindy Egan, 308 Old Plantation Road, Jekyll Island, GA 31527. Make checks payable to Inititative to Protect Jekyll Island.

Donate $50 or more and receive a signed copy of Dr. Barbara McDonald’s book, Remember Jekyll Island

IPJI is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. IPJI officers and board members do not receive any compensation for expenses incurred for IJPI-related work or travel. One-hundred percent of all donations go to the advancement of IPJI’s mission of protecting and preserving Jekyll Island’s traditional character, natural beauty and wildlife habitats. 


Over the past few years, several popular Facebook pages have been created in support of IPJI’s work, the largest of which has nearly 2,300 members and was founded by Ashley Chasteen and Jimmy Manor, who still manage the page. Facebook pages run by Lewis Baker, Mindy Egan, and Heather Davis have also drawn a good number of members and have been useful for sharing Jekyll-related information and publicizing our Action Alerts.

As of September 10th, IPJI has created its own Facebook page, which will work in cooperation with the others so as to maximize our ability to reach a large audience and communicate quickly and easily. To join our Facebook page, go to and click on the "Like" button. If this link does not work for you simply type in Protect Jekyll Island in your FaceBook search bar.


High-quality, pre-washed t-shirts featuring IPJI’s colorful logo are available in exchange for a donation of $20 or more per shirt, including shipping. Click here for t-shirt photos and order form. Questions about t-shirts should be sent to


“Going Home to Jekyll Island” is a song by 'bluesgrassy' singer Jeff Catlett from Knoxville, Tennessee, who is a long-time visitor to Jekyll Island. Jeff's song will remind you of why we all do what we can to protect the island and ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy it as so many others already have.

IPJI extends its thanks to Jeff for his song and to the people who contributed the photos that help bring its lyrics to life. 

Now to start the slide show, click here, turn up your volume, and enjoy “Going Home to Jekyll Island!”


Savannah resident Charlotte Alling has created a new blog site:, the purpose of which is to offer an example of a more sustaining and successful approach to Jekyll Island’s renovation than has been pursued by the Jekyll Island Authority board over the past four years, and to provide a medium for public comment on the island’s redevelopment and best future. In Charlotte’s words, “the Jekyll Island Authority has the opportunity to become a distinctive leader in vacation/leisure by designing a different development concept that is unique, lovely and a true-to-nature state park that would both solve both the pressing financial needs of the authority and address the stated concerns of the citizenry. This new approach would place the intrinsic value of Jekyll as the development goal and by doing so create a greater more sustainable financial reward for the long term: a win-win.”

Click here for an editorial by Charlotte that provides an introduction to her blog and what it aims to accomplish.


The Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park (IPJI) has added more than 400 members since the beginning of this year, bringing the group’s total number of supporters to nearly 11,000. An all-volunteer, non-profit organization, IPJI began five years ago with just a handful of dedicated Jekyll advocates but now has members from more than 350 towns and cities in Georgia and every state in America, with the exception North Dakota. 

If you love Jekyll Island but have not yet formally joined IPJI, please click here to do so.  IPJI membership is FREE.


Demand for IPJI’s “Defend Jekyll Island” bumper stickers remains strong.  The stickers, which provide Jekyll’s friends with a way to express their support for Georgia’s Jewel and to draw attention to IPJI’s continuing effort to protect the island, are available for FREE.  To request a bumper sticker, send an email to, subject line "bumper sticker."