Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cheraw State Park, South Carolina Part II. Interview with Park Manager Mark Davies

Click here to access the first post in this series.

Davies Close 02 Mark Davies arrived only a month ago as Park Manager at Cheraw State Park. So most of his waking hours have been devoted to settling in to this enormous South Carolina Park. In spite of his busy schedule, Mark agreed to take an hour out for a CarolinaConsidered Project interview. Fortunately, the rain had stopped, so we had a little sunshine to brighten our interview location.

davies shelter Even more fortunate, Mark’s wife, Morgan Davies, dropped by to help with video recording. I’ve been studying video for a few months, but have a long way to go. Thanks to Morgan’s contribution I’m able to provide video clips of the interview rather than just audio. Thanks again, Morgan. I’ll always remember the tripod!

We began, as usual, with Mark Davies’ background and preparation for service in the South Carolina Park Service. Quite an interesting story. He’s lived and worked all over the country.
We then turned to Mark’s career in the Park Service. Mark is the first park manager I’ve met with undergraduate training in business and accounting. Listen as he explains how useful that background has been when managing an operation as large and diverse as a 7,000-acre state park with its own golf course. Makes sense! But it’s still unusual.
I’ve yet to meet a Park Manager who could describe his or her Park in “ … just a sentence or two.” It’s interesting to listen to them try, though. Mark Davies was no exception. He had so much to include that his brief general description went on for considerably more than a sentence or two. Have a listen above.

Of course, the Tom Jackson-designed 18-hole championship golf course has to be the first feature mentioned. And it is beautiful. I’m not a golfer, and even I can appreciate its beauty. More on the golf course in a later post.

lake juniper 01 But the golf course at Cheraw is only the beginning. 360-acre Lake Juniper is an equally valuable resource. Larger than most state park lakes I’ve seen, it offers a diverse and interesting shore line. Ideal for geezer kayaking.

Of course, no Mobile Studio Travels survey of a State Park would be complete without discussion of its RV camping facilities and rental cabins. Cheraw’s RV camping loop is unusually small. Only 17 sites. But those 17 sites and surrounding grounds and facilities are beautifully maintained. Like the golf course! We’ll see more of Cheraw’s rental cabins in a later post with a later visit to Cabin # 3.

Cheraw State Park also offers its visitors excellent hiking and boating opportunities. Several miles of trails, in two loops, all well maintained. With considerable attention to visitors with limited mobility. I was amazed to find 16 kayaks for rent at this Park. Sixteen! As well as canoes and john boats. Quite a fleet.

In conclusion Park Manager Davies describes the Park’s Moonlight Kayak Tours. They’re held every month of the year, weather and an adequate number of participants permitting, at or near full moon. Imagine spending a few hours on Lake Juniper at night, under a full moon.

Thanks again, Mark Davies, for your contribution to the CarolinaConsidered Project. And special thanks to Morgan Davies who gave us video for this interview. Errors in video editing, of course, are mine, not Morgan’s.

Stay tuned. Next we’ll take a morning kayak paddle on Lake Juniper.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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