During the last three months South Carolina has certainly seen its share of rain. From the historic floods and rainfall of October to the more recent rains during the New Year, it rained. A lot. And while the rain alleviated the drought, it brought with it its own set of challenges. Damage was done at several locations including Hunting Island, Santee, Hampton Plantation, Hickory Knob, Hamilton Branch and Sesquicentennial. The rains have damaged roads, trail bridges, beaches and disrupted more than a few visits to your parks. While the damage has challenged us at a few locations, it has also renewed us. Rain does that, even when it comes down in historic levels.
Rain has always had a way of renewing us, cleansing us from the inside while falling on the outside. Rain, those droplets that seem to have magical components that wash away the dirt and metaphorically wash away our worries and refresh our soul. Rain. I know this rain was different. With this rain we learned about its awesome power, about how it can move things we never imagined, about how it can disrupt plans and lives. This rain was different, instead of washing away worries it seem to bring new worries and challenges with each drop. It rained like no one had ever experienced before and then it rained some more. For days gray skies hid the Carolina sunshine. After what seemed like forever, the sun came out and the rain stopped. The sunlight beamed its rays on the new day, new challenges and new worries the rains of 2015 left behind. On my travels around the state to look at these new challenges, I discovered that the rains had left behind much more than the damage that I saw in front of me. I saw that South Carolina spirit, the determination that we’ll be back good as new in no time. I felt it while I was at Santee. After several tough days dealing with the flood and its damage, the sun came out. I glanced over at the Park Manger Maiwald and said: “We got this.” He smiled and said: “Let’s get busy.” I am so proud of our team and our visitors. That palmetto spirit that has defined our state so many times. That spirit was resilient, determined and positive even through the rain. Yes, state parks are back and we can’t wait for your next visit.
So how about all that water? Sure, there are some lingering physical effects- the lake levels are a testament to that. Our lakes and rivers are full and flowing. And the waterfalls? Well, they have never looked better. We’re working on the damage and hope to have everything back to “normal” soon. The bottom line is, we are ready for your visit and can’t wait to see you in your parks!
Yes, there is just something about falling water, even when it comes from the sky above, and even when it comes at historic levels. With all this rain, I feel sure that our spring wildflowers and anxious buds from every tree can’t wait until the warmer temperatures, longer days and sunshine of spring and neither can we! Before you know it spring will be here, so it’s time to make plans for a special weekend getaway or program we have planned just for you! Wildflowers, ocean breezes, April showers (did I say that?!), campfires, s’mores and stargazing. The rain is over, time to get back outside!
See you in the parks!!