Back in early March this year I had another opportunity to visit Hunting Island State Park here on South Carolina’s coast. About sixteen miles east of Beaufort. On a barrier island.
Hunting Island is a Huge Park. Well over 5,000 acres; part salt marsh and part maritime forest. Many of the Park’s million-plus visitors each year are attracted by the Park’s four miles of beach. Certainly one of the nicest on the East Coast.
But there are beautiful beaches up and down South Carolina’s Atlantic coast. If that’s all you see during your visit to Hunting Island you’ve missed a lot! But with so much to see and to learn, how to begin?
My suggestion is to begin with a trip to the Park’s Nature Center. Whether you’re at the Park for just a day, or you’re camping for several days, time spent at the Nature Center will be both informative and enjoyable.
And that bold assertion holds for visitors of all ages. During the past couple of years, Park Naturalist Mitchell Helms and his staff have redesigned most, if not all, of the Nature Center’s exhibits, making sure to include something for every age group. Recently my wife, our daughter, a 9-year-old granddaughter, and twin grandchildren 3 years old, visited the Center. Everyone, from Nana to the twins, found something of interest to enjoy. The new touch-screen displays impressed everyone!
In addition to its beautiful environment and an excellent staff, Hunting Island State Park enjoys another important resource: a large, active, and effective Friends Group. Click here to visit the Friends of Hunting Island State Park website. Spend some time clicking the various menu headings. This website is chuck-full of useful information about the Park and the Group’s activities. According to Park Naturalist Mitch Helms, they have generously supported recent improvements to the Nature Center.
Well, enough preliminary commentary. Let’s get to the interview with Park Naturalist Mitch Helms. He’s responsible for this remarkable facility, and explains it far better than I am able. The interview is in two parts. Be sure to see them both.