The campground was very quiet, awaiting the chorus of the birds that would begin in a half-hour or so before daylight. I should try to record these early morning bird sounds. They’re quite different in different parts of the State.
Soon it was time to leave for the short drive to Colleton State Park, and the interview with Park Manager, Eugene Moore.
Mr. Moore is a South Carolinian through and through. Born and raised in Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Where he has maintained his family and community roots.Like so many of his colleagues, Mr. Moore enjoyed outdoors activities as a child, and often visited nearby State Parks. In his case, Greenwood State Park on Greenwood Lake.
Mr. Moore then described his experience working fulltime for seven years at a cotton mill prior to joining the Park Service, and how it helped prepare him for managerial responsibilities later in life. During this time he also managed to work part-time at Greenwood State Park, preparing for his ultimate goal: a Park Service career.
We then moved on to Mr. Moore’s career in the Park Service. From his first full-time Park Service job at Kings Mountain State Park to his present assignment at Colleton. His experience illustrates just how difficult it is to become a Park Ranger. How selective the Park Service is. And how the process works.
No Park Manager I’ve met so far has been willing to describe his or her Park in a single sentence. But their efforts often provide us with better understanding of the essence of their facilities. Here Mr. Moore stresses the importance of the Edisto River for Colleton State Park.
And tells us that Colleton is the headquarters for the Edisto Canoe and Kayak Trail that I mentioned a few posts back. That responsibility may explain the new office building facility, or resource center, with its nice conference table. It’s being put to good use here.
I then asked Mr. Moore about the history of the Park. When and how it was built. I knew Colleton was a CCC-built Park. But I didn’t know about the involvement of the WPA. Mr. Moore noted that a few individuals from this part of South Carolina, employed by the WPA, joined the CCC crews. Crews made up of young men “from all over,” as Mr. Moore put it.
He mentions the Cypress Swamp interpretive trail that I described in the last post. With its numbered signposts along the trail and keyed descriptions on the back of the brochure you see above. A great resource. He also said the Park’s acreage has never been logged. Which, as we know from other Parks, is important.
The Park also is home to three or more large barred owls. Large enough to require Park personnel to warn campers who bring pets to keep their small dogs and cats protected. Those owls would make a great photo, but I didn’t get to see one while visiting. Here’s a link to an excellent page of information about the barred owl, including some impressive photos.
We then discussed the Park’s RV campground and the challenge of erosion control in such sandy soil so close to a major river. These are not the wide, paved campsites of the Corps of Engineers-built Calhoun Falls State Park, to be sure. But these campsites have their own charm. A charm eagerly articulated by campers I met while visiting. I certainly look forward to the opportunity to park my Aliner here for a few nights.
And speaking of campers, I asked Park Manager Moore to describe the Park’s clientele. He became quite enthusiastic describing Park visitors. Even one a number of years ago from England he still remembers fondly. Visitors here at Colleton State Park, it’s obvious, aren’t considered an inconvenience to be endured. Mr. Moore’s attitude may help to explain the effusive praise of the campers I met here yesterday. Good to hear.
In the last post I mentioned seeing a “Comment Box” near the Campground bath house. So I asked Mr. Moore about that. His response was interesting, and reflected the way this State Park is run, I think. Give a listen here.
By now, the phone in Mr. Moore’s office was ringing nearly every minute, and it was obvious he had things to do. So, I reluctantly closed the interview with a question about the Park’s staff.
Like so many of South Carolina’s State Parks, budget austerity has cut personnel here to an absolute minimum. Colleton State Park is allotted two full-time personnel, and one part-time person during the busier non-winter months. However, Mr. Moore certainly is no whiner! Listen to him describe this challenge, and how he and his “partner” meet it. An inspiration for us all.
Thanks again to Mr. Eugene Moore, Park Manager at Colleton State Park, for taking the time during this busy period for a CarolinaConsidered interview. Click the link below when you have time and listen to the interview straight from beginning to end. It’s a real winner.