Congaree National Park

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Congaree National Park  in South Carolina protects the old growth forest on the floodplain of the Congaree River. When we were there, we thought it a swamp because the Cypress trees we saw were submerged in water. It is technically not a swamp, but a ‘bottomland’ subject to periodic flooding.

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The Sierra Club and grassroots environmental groups fought to save Congaree from destruction by the logging industry in the Sixties. This park preserves one of the largest collections of ‘Champion Trees’ (a Champion Tree being the largest known of its species.)

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It was declared a National Monument in the Seventies and converted to National Park status in 2003.

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We stopped at Congaree on a road trip in the Spring of 2010. We picked up a Junior Ranger booklet and perused the exhibits in the visitors center. We watched the short film and then walked the two-mile boardwalk loop.

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It was quite humid and buggy, so we were grateful for the elevated path.

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There were only a handful of others in the park, so we pretty much had the loop to ourselves. At one point, we startled a snake sunning itself in the middle of the walkway.

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Location: 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061

Designation: National Park

Date designated or established: 11/10/2003

Date of my visit: 4/08/2010

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Fort Sumter National Monument

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Fort Sumter was built after the war of 1812 to protect Charleston Harbor. The construction began in 1829 but wasn’t yet finished when South Carolina seceded from the union in December of 1860. In April of 1861, Confederate forces fired on the Union soldiers occupying the fort, forcing their surrender in the first battle of the American Civil War.

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The fort is on a man-made island in the middle of the harbor and so is only accessible by boat.  The NPS concessionaire offers a few 2.5 hour tours a day. It takes about 30 minutes each way to get there, leaving a little more than an hour to explore the fort and the museum housed there.

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We were staying with cousins in their beach house nearby, so we decided to make the trip into Charleston to visit the fort. We arrived at the visitors center just in time to pick up our reserved tickets for the last tour and rushed onto the boat. We enjoyed the ride out to the island.

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Once there, we perused the museum and helped the kids fill out their junior ranger booklets. They had more fun climbing on the cannons than anything else.

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Once back in Charleston, we went inside the visitors center again for the swearing-in of our junior rangers. There are more museum exhibits in this facility, but the kids were done with history lessons for the day.

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There is another fort, Fort Moultrie, which is a part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. It is older, dating back to the Revolutionary War, and is located on Sullivan Island. This island can be reached by car, but since we’d spent a full afternoon immersed in Civil War history, we did not visit this part of the park. Maybe next time 🙂

 

Location: 340 Concord Street, Liberty Square, Charleston, South Carolina

Designation: National Monument

Date designation declared: 4/28/1948

Date of my visit: April 2, 2010

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