Georgia natural resources commissioner chosen to oversee Jekyll Island


JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The leader of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources has been chosen to oversee the state park at Jekyll Island.

Mark Williams will take over as executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority in July after its governing board voted to hire him Tuesday, The Brunswick News reported.

Williams, of Jesup, has served the past 13 years as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The agency's responsibilities include managing 49 state parks across Georgia.

Jekyll Island is operated by its own governing authority. The island was a private getaway for some of America's wealthiest industrialists before the state purchased it in 1947. For decades it has served as a public park where beaches, marshes and maritime forest remain unspoiled and protected amid hotels, golf courses and a water park. An estimated 3.5 million people visited the island last year.

Williams is a current member of the Jekyll Island Authority's board. He wasn't present during the vote to hire him as director Tuesday.

Williams will replace Jones Hooks, who is retiring after 15 years as the island's executive director. Hooks led the authority through an extensive tourism makeover that included a new convention center and clarification of the state law requiring most of the island's acreage to remain undeveloped.


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