Friday, November 26, 2010

Visit to Barnwell State Park, South Carolina. Drive Over and First Impressions.

Barnwell Main SignTable of Contents

Barnwell State Park is another of the State’s sixteen or so Civilian Conservation Corps-built Parks.

CCC Sign at OfficeLocated in historic Barnwell County, the Park was created in the late 1930s, and has been popular with the people of Barnwell and its surrounds ever since. This is my first visit to Barnwell State Park, so I knew next to nothing about it before this trip. 

As always, click these photos to access larger images.

Map to BarnwellThe Park is less than 70 miles from home in Columbia. Between Blackville and Barnwell, on Route 3. It’s a pleasant drive, along interesting secondary roads. Through towns, large and small. And across the beautiful flat farmland that characterizes this part of the State. Huge flat fields, much of it devoted to cotton. Those fields, their hedgerows, and the gigantic farm machines required to work them, are a sight to behold.

main gateThe Park’s main entrance, set back a bit from the edge of Route 3, is easy to miss if you’re not careful. The traditional big brown sign is on the left-hand side of the road. So, keep an eye out as you drive from Blackville to Barnwell.

First impressions are important, and Barnwell State Park’s elegantly simple entrance makes a fine first impression. Ryan Gyles PlaqueAs you can see above, it’s marked by four white pillars, complete with a plaque in honor of Dr. Ryan A Gyles, a mayor of Blackville and State Legislator. Dr. Giles was a driving force behind creation of this Park. Good to see his work remembered in this way.

Drive along the Park road that winds past neat, attractive Park Staff residences and through the woods to the shore of this small lake.

Barnwell SP Office Area  (10)

There you’ll find the small Park office, flanked on either side by bath houses. Office Building CloseOne for men; one for women. No longer used as bath houses, of course. Rear View Office Bath HousesBut preserved as examples of the CCC’s work at this Park.

LakeThis small lake is deceiving. It’s one of three on the Park. And, according to Park personnel and visitors alike, it’s full of fish! Everyone I talked with confirmed this story.

Big FishApparently, I wasn’t the first Park visitor who doubted the fish stories. So, they’ve mounted a bulletin board on the rear of the office building where they encourage fishermen to leave photos of their prize catches. Well, these lunkers came from somewhere. Must have been from the lake!

I no longer fish. But this Park looks like another “gem” in the system. Here’s a brief video taken just after arrival:

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