Archive for the ‘South Carolina’ Tag

Congaree National Park   2 comments

Congaree NP 00Where Is It: 25 miles southeast of Columbia, SC. 236 miles east of Atlanta.

The Birth: From the National Park website:

In 1969 relatively high timber prices prompted private landowners to consider resuming logging operations. As a result of an effective “grass roots” campaign launched by the Sierra Club and many local individuals, Congress established Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976. That designation was not enough to protect the area from the force of Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. The park lost several National Champion trees, but the overall effect was a natural stimulus to growth. Hugo snapped tree tops, thereby allowing sunlight to come through the canopy, promoting new growth beneath. Fallen trees have provided shelter for many species of organisms; standing dead trees became new homes for a variety of plant and animal species, including fungi, insects, reptiles, birds, and bats.

On June 30, 1983 Congaree Swamp National Monument was designated an International Biosphere Reserve. In July of 2001 it was designated a Globally Important Bird Area, and on November 10, 2003 it was designated as the nation’s 57th National Park.

It Happened Here: Logging tried to happen in the early 20th century, but it proved to be commercially unprofitable due to the swampiness of the land. Heavy equipment couldn’t be used. Only trees close to the waterways could be cut, with the hope of using the waterways to float the logs out of the area. Unfortunately, due to the damp conditions, the green logs would not float. After a few years, operations were abandoned as unproductive, leaving the floodplain basically untouched.

Size: 26,546 acres

Visitors: 109,685 in 2012. May was most attended; December was least.

Plants: 75 species of trees are found in Congaree National Park. It is the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southestern United States.

Animals: The Park is entirely forested, but more than 170 bird species have been found in the park. Large animals that have been seen in the park are bobcats, deer, pigs, dogs, coyotes, armadillos and turkeys. The Park waters contain many types of fish, including bowfin, largemouth bass, panfish and catfish.

Choices: The Low and High Boardwalk Trails (2.4 miles total) are the best places to start for most visitors. After that, do the Weston Lake Loop Trail (4.4 miles) around the Oxbow Lake. If your are looking for birds, do the 11.7-mile Kingsnake Trail.

Fees: Congaree National Park does not charge entrance or tour fees.

Staying There: In 2012, the Park banned “car camping” … meaning you can’t sleep in your car. There are a few “walk-in” sites, where you have to walk to a site to pitch your tent.

Contact Info:

100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061-9118

Current Issues: The Park, perhaps still suffering its time as a National Monument when it was known as a Swamp … is considering charging for its services for the first time. The suggested fees are $10 for individual tent sites at the Bluff Campground, $15 for individual tent sites and $25 for group tent sites at the Longleaf Campground, $40 for picnic pavilion rental and $25 for guided canoe trips. Renting a canoe at local outfitters usually costs about $40 a day. Guided tours on Cedar Creek cost around $60 per person.

Don’t Miss This: Reservations for the free guided canoe trips on Cedar Creek can now be booked up to several months in advance. Visitors with flexible plans now stand a much better chance of locking in seats for the popular weekend trips.


National Park Service: Congaree National Park

National Parks Traveler: Birding….

The State: National Park Considering First Fees….

Travels With Minis: Congaree National Park

Kat’s Corner: Congaree National Park

The Life Of Your Time: Random Insect: Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

National Park Foundation: QTPrincess2785 video

Money vs. Having A Backbone   3 comments

NewspapersI’ve spent most of my career in journalism … well, the bastard step child of journalism. I worked in the trade press.

The trade press was often viewed with disdain by the mainstream press, as the trades were known to cut journalistic corners in order to serve their industry. They were advocates, not investigative journalists.

So, the mainstream press sneered. Rightly so.

Flash forward past the digital revolution that gutted the “free press” in the name of “free information,” and you find that just about every remaining news outlet is struggling to find that sweet spot between viability and profitability that the new economies of the information age will allow.

And if you’re a printed publication, you’re on the edge of annihilation. From the Cincinnati Post to the Rocky Mountain News, newspapers have disappeared in major markets all across the country. This trend continues. And, even the survivors are a shadow of their former selves. Narrower. Thinner. Smaller.

Given the economic pressures on publishers, it’s no surprise that compromises are being made.

But this week, one compromise became public that’s particularly egregious. Integrity has been besmirched … because of a football coach.

ALA @ USCThe South Carolina Gamecocks are led by Steve Spurrier. He’s a big deal.  Spurrier was a great college quarterback, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1966 while playing for the Florida Gators, playing in the NFL for ten years, and then returning to Florida to lead them to a consensus national championship in 1996. Recently, he’s been coaching the University of South Carolina (that other USC) to new heights. And that’s where this story turns ugly.South Carolina Gamecocks

Spurrier has had an ongoing feud with a columnist for The State, Columbia, South Carolina’s newspaper. The columnist, Ron Morris, has been banned from covering Gamecocks football in any way. Because the coach said so.

Banned? Yup. Morris was forced to sign an agreement by his publisher that he would not write about the Gamecocks again, or he would be fired. When you’re a newspaper sports columnist told by your boss not to cover one of the biggest teams in the state, that’s a big deal.

In 2011, Spurrier once refused to do a press conference because Morris was in the room. He’s been refusing to answer his questions since 2009 … but thought that the journalist was asking questions by proxy through other journalists, so Spurrier walked out because Morris was in the room.

Why? Spurrier: “He’s a negative guy.” Here’s what Spurrier told Jim Romenesko, who broke the story:

“Ron Morris just wrote stuff that wasn’t true about me and I reacted,” Spurrier told me over the phone last Thursday. “I was fine with him the first five or six years here, and then he would write stuff that wasn’t true.”

Did he complain to The State’s publisher? I asked.

“I complained to the world about him. I complained to Gamecock Nation on my radio show. But don’t put that on me” that Morris can no longer write about Gamecocks football. “He is responsible for that.”

After this story broke on Tuesday, The State has retreated from their spineless position, after having media commentators and the sports blogosphere erupt with a universal condemnation of their handling of the situation. It’s one thing for Coach Spurrier to not like the criticism. It’s quite another for a leading newspaper to remove a seasoned journalist and replace him with a fan to write about the team.

The executive editor of the paper, Mark Lett, has released a statement to staff that obfuscates the paper’s role in the situation. He even says that Morris can write about anything he wants … but tempers have to cool first.

Journalism, I mourn for thee.

More The State Tells Its Sports Columnist He Can’t Cover University Of South Carolina Football

Jim The State: It’s Now OK For Columnist Ron Morris To Write About Gamecocks Football

Deadspin: Reporter Who Was Critical of Steve Spurrier Replaced By Spurrier’s Pal Scandals, Scandals, Scandals


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