It’s almost pathetic, the Sea Island Beach Club setting up a playground in the dunes along the lines of “if we build it, they will come.”

Then along comes James Holland on one of his morning inspection flights, takes pictures and circles what he judges to be clearly illicit intrusions and impositions on the dynamic dunes.

And Holland’s got the statutes to prove his point:


east-31But, there’s a couple of things Holland overlooked. He not only missed that fat-wheeled buggy parked on the left edge of his picture, but that rivulet of fertilizer/pesticide/herbicide runoff from the morning washing of the palm tree-studded lawn (whose installation has transformed the dune into an exempt highland). Nor does he call attention to the remnant of asphalt road in the upper right of his picture on which the Sea Island Acquisitions group base their claim of a right to exclude any intruders from the sea into their newly gated community.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the law Holland is citing doesn’t even address what has obviously taken place. The legislators apparently didn’t consider that, like “protected” vegetation, entire dunes are liable to being removed, whether it’s to “replenish” the beach or create a volleyball pit. Then, since there’s no longer a dune, what’s to prevent the incredibly shrinking Sea Island beach from being extended to the West?


That the vegetated sand dunes serve to prevent erosion by the wind apparently hasn’t registered yet. So, just as the groin to the south of the beach has hastened the erosion of the Spit, removing the dune will transfer of yet more sand down to East Beach.

Coney Island

If it seems implausible that the owners of a resort would engineer the destruction of their own venue, keep in mind that Sea Island Acquisitions is a bunch of Wall Street speculators, who picked up some real estate cheap and intend to make a profit on sales. So, what’s important in their book is that the concern look good — maybe like the Coney Island (cleaned up) that people remember or the beaches on the Riviera.

“If it looks attractive, somebody will buy it.”

That’s how speculators and exploiters think.

Editor's Note: This story also appears at the Daily Kos and Hannah Blog Images: by James Holland Photography

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."