Seasons Greetings

The leaves have fallen and the decorations are up -- it’s the holiday season in your state parks -- a time of thanksgiving, reflection and celebration.  All of us in the South Carolina State Park Service are thankful for park visitors and all South Carolinians who love their state parks.  You make our job rewarding and fun!

During 2012, I’ve had the opportunity to have many interactions with park visitors.  As an "old park ranger" it’s always good to get out in the parks and be with our guests. It’s both rewarding and beneficial, and I am thankful to have shared some great experiences with visitors this year.  My adventures have included identifying trees and plants with visitors at Charles Towne Landing, getting up early with the dedicated volunteers on turtle patrol at Hunting Island and leading a couple of hikes to a waterfall at Jones Gap.  It's just what this "old park ranger" needed.  Watching and learning with a group of third graders as they talked about water ecology at Paris Mountain reminded me of the impact parks can have on our future. And last but not least, receiving emails and phone calls from park visitors about how the park staff made their visit special, and sharing their suggestions about how we can make your visit even better.  2012 has been a great year filled with great memories, and lots of smiles!

So it’s time to get ready for the New Year -- 2013.  Start your new year at a South Carolina State Park and start it out on the right foot, with a First Day Hike. This year there will be lots of parks participating, so pick a park and a hike that you’ll enjoy and look for more healthy programs in 2013. 

Make 2013 the year that you do some of the things that you talked about doing last year.  Remember spring wildflower walks in April and May. Don’t forget the lilies at Landsford Canal in May and June, and the 4th of July Celebration at Oconee. In September its Hawk Watch at Caesars Head, then the longest leaf season in the nation shows off throughout the Palmetto State. Along the way there will be campfires, hikes, river trips, outdoor movies, fish prints, square dancing, geocaching, cannon balls and cannon firings. Time to make plans and time to come out and play!

This holiday season visit a state park for some great gift ideas and walk the nature trail or have a picnic while you are there. If you can’t make it to a park be sure to visit the South Carolina State Park Facebook page and website. We’ve got lots of gift ideas that include gift cards, park passports, T-shirts and baseball caps. Give the gift of great memories before 2013 arrives.

See you in the parks!
Phil