“TAKE A HIKE,” PEOPLE …
By FITSNews || For those of you who didn’t know it our founding editor is a closet greenie. In fact he’s been know from time to time to wax sentimental about his love of the outdoors – and his belief in the notion of conservation and environmental stewardship (in a manner consistent with market principles and private property rights, of course).
This week he and his eldest joined their local Trail Life USA troop for a visit to the Congaree National Park – which since 2003 has been the only national park in the Palmetto State.
Wait … this website is touting a government-run park? The same website that habitually rips parks as a non-core function of government?
Don’t get us wrong, we believe all parks – local, state and federal – should be immediately privatized. But we’re not going to boycott a government park on ideological grounds. Especially not with a ten-year-old chomping at the bit to go traipsing through the woods with a dozen of his best buds.
Located twenty minutes southeast of Columbia, S.C., the Congaree National Park contains more than 26,000 acres (or 41.5 square miles) of bottomland hardwood forest. In fact it’s the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in America.
Traversed by the Congaree River, the park contains numerous streams and creeks (which are available for canoeing and kayaking) – as well as hiking trails ranging from 0.7 to 11.1 miles.
Free overnight camping is also permitted at several sites within the park – although if you decide to go deep into the woods be sure to keep your eyes peeled seeing as the forest populated by all sorts of predators (alligators, bobcats, coyotes, feral pigs and feral dogs, to name just a few).
For the casual hiker looking to spend a few hours communing with nature, the shorter trails feature elevated boardwalks. That makes it easy for older citizens and families with young children (i.e. strollers) to enjoy the scenery – which includes majestic Bald Cypresses and Loblolly Pines as well as a wide range of flora and fauna.
And feathered friends (the park was designated in 2001 as a globally important bird area).
The best part of the park? Its trails are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week . And there’s no admission fee to hike them .
Take a look …
(Click to enlarge)
The only bad news? According to data from the National Park Service, attendance over the last five years has averaged less than 120,000 a year – making this an underutilized asset.
For more information on the park, CLICK HERE.