CONGAREE NATIONAL PARK, in central
* 1 Park history
* 1.1 Pre-park * 1.2 Monument establishment * 1.3 Converting to National Park
* 2 Environment * 3 Amenities and attractions * 4 Geology * 5 Documentary * 6 References * 7 External links
Resource extraction on the Congaree River centered on cypress logging from 1898, when the Santee River Cypress Logging Company began to operate in the area of what is now the park. Owned by the Beidler family of Chicago, the company operated until 1914, after which the Beidlers retained ownership of the area. In the 1950s Harry R.E. Hampton was a member of the Cedar Creek Hunt Club and co-editor of The State . Hampton joined with Peter Manigault at the Charleston The Post and Courier to advocate preservation of the Congaree floodplain. Hampton formed the Beidler Forest Preservation Association in 1961. As a result of this advocacy a 1963 study by the National Park Service reported favorably on the establishment of a national monument.
No progress was made in the 1960s. Renewed logging by the Beidlers in
1969 prompted the 1972 formation of the Congaree Swamp National
Preserve Association (CSNPA). The CSNPA joined forces with the Sierra
Club and other conservation organizations to promote federal
legislation to preserve the tract.
CONVERTING TO NATIONAL PARK
Over two-thirds of the national monument was designated a wilderness
area on October 24, 1988, and it became an
Important Bird Area on July
26, 2001. Congress redesignated the monument
Congaree National Park
Old growth forest
The park preserves a significant part of the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion . Although it is frequently referred to as a swamp, it is largely bottomland subject to periodic inundation by floodwaters.
It has been designated an old growth forest . The park also has one of the largest concentrations of champion trees in the world, with the tallest known examples of 15 species. Champion trees include a 167-foot (51 m) 361-point loblolly pine , a157-foot (48 m) 384-point sweetgum , a 154-foot (47 m) 465-point cherrybark oak , a 135-foot (41 m) 354-point American elm , a 133-foot (41 m) 356-point swamp chestnut oak , a 131-foot (40 m) 371-point overcup oak , and a 127-foot (39 m) 219-point common persimmon .
Large animals possibly seen in the park include bobcats, deer, feral pigs, feral dogs, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, and otters. Its waters contain interesting creatures like amphibians, turtles, snakes, alligators, and many types of fish, including bowfin, alligator gar, and catfish.
AMENITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
Kayakers paddle on Cedar Creek
In addition to being a designated
Wilderness Area , an International
Most visitors to the park walk along the Boardwalk Loop, an elevated 2.4-mile (3.9 km) walkway through the swampy environment that protects delicate fungi and plant life at ground level. Congaree boasts both the tallest (169 ft, 51.4m) and largest (42 cubic meters) Loblolly Pines ( Pinus taeda ) alive today as well as several Cypress Trees well over 500 years old. The Harry Hampton Visitor Center features exhibits about the natural history of the park, and the efforts to protect the swamp. There is also an orientation film.
There are monthly volunteer-led hikes on some of the longer trails to give visitors an opportunity to get off the boardwalk and up close to nature.
Geologic map of the park Park geologic cross section
The park resides entirely within the
Congaree River Floodplain
Complex with flood deposits of sand , silt , and clay . Muck and peat
are the products of vegetation decay. The meander of the river has
produced distinctive oxbow lakes . North of the park is the NE-SW
regional trending Augusta Fault and the Terrace Complex consisting of
* ^ A B C "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land
Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
* ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service.
Retrieved February 9, 2017.
* ^ Arning, David R. (September 7, 2005). "National Register of
Historic Places Registration Form: Woodlands" (PDF). National Park
* ^ A B C Almlie, Elizabeth J. (2011). "A Place of Nature and
Culture: The Founding of Congaree National Park, South Carolina"
(PDF). Federal History Journal (3). Retrieved 19 October 2016.
* ^ Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein; et al. (2001). "Terrestrial
Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth".
* The National Parks: Index 2001–2003. Washington: U.S. Department of the Interior .