Sunday, August 4, 2013

News From Barnwell State Park

Back home from Barnwell State Park. It’s always good to get back home from RV camping. But look at that inquisitive doe who visited my campsite on Monday or Tuesday morning. Then every morning thereafter. What a view out the Aliner’s side window!
A real inspiration as I worked away on the next novel in the Dr. Ray Raether South Carolina RV Travel Mystery series. That doe will somehow have to appear in the next book!
I was able to persuade Park Manager Eddie Richburg to join us again for an hour or so to describe events at the Park since our last visit about three years ago.
With limited staff, he was busy as the dickens. So I cornered him early. On Monday afternoon.
xSwimmingAreaBarnwell is one of South Carolina’s State Parks at which swimming has been reestablished. This photo of the swimming area doesn’t quite do it justice. Sand has been reclaimed from the lake to line the bottom of the roped-off area, and the shore has been cleaned of all debris. Fortunately the two changing areas on either side of the Park Office remain.
ClickToListenHear Mr. Richburg describe this development with a click on the button. Over the years I’ve heard dozens of Park visitors across the State lamenting the loss of their community swimming areas. Good to see it back.
xFishingGearWhile we’re on the subject of the lake, I asked Park Manager Richburg again about fishing at his Park. Some listeners have expressed polite skepticism about his description during the first interview. If anything, he was even more enthusiastic.
ClickToListenI haven’t included everything he said. But here’s a sample. Bass, Brim, Shellcracker, and Crappie. I don’t know what a Shellcracker is, but it wasn’t quite the time to ask. Bass, according to Eddie, get huge here. He’ll explain why if you click the “click-to-listen button.”
xRetailBarnwell, like every other Park in the State system, is under great pressure to generate revenue. That’s not easy! Well, not easy if the Park sticks to its primary public service mandate. One method used by Barnwell and other Parks is to expand sale of retail items such as hats, t-shirts, ice cream, and cold drinks.
ClickToListenTake a look at the photo of Barnwell’s retail sales area above. I mean! The Park Office was cramped as it was. But now, a desk and chair has been removed to make way for the shelves. Not even room to swing a cat, as we used to say OverHome.
xFire PitProfits from retail sales will never cover operating costs at a public facility like Barnwell State Park. So, like other Managers in the State System, Eddie Richburg has solicited contributions from wherever he can. Materials for the new fire rings, like the one you see in the photo above, were paid for by grateful Park visitors.
ClickToListenThen Eddie and Park personnel set them up. That’s one of the Park’s “rondette” cabins you see in the background. This isn’t all.
xPicnicTablesHave you heard about the Park System’s “600 in 60 Project”? I hadn’t. Seems Mr. Mikee Johnson of Cox Lumber Company offered the State Park System wood and materials for several hundred benches and picnic tables. Hardware and delivery included. IF, they agreed to have the tables set up and sited by Boy Scouts within 60 days of delivery.
ClickToListenNow, that’s synergy! Local young people responsible for projects all over the State. Projects that enhance the Parks.
Like Mr. Cox, Park Manager Richburg is a strong supporter of Scouting. He’s been using Eagle Scout Projects to compensate for the Park’s limited budget for years. While at the same time providing young folks in Barnwell County with valuable life experience.
ClickToListenSoon, Scouts will relocate a section of the Park’s nature trail. Relocating part of the boardwalk that raises hikers up out of a wet spot. Now, that’s an enormous job. But Eddie is confident they will meet the challenge.
xTrailMarkersIt doesn’t end there. Another Eagle Scout project has added attractive trail markers throughout the Park’s winding, sometimes confusing, nature trail. Now new hikers on the trail can’t miss turns with these attractive posts to guide them.
ClickToListenI’m not sure, but I think Mr. Johnson of Cox Lumber donated the raw materials for this project as well.
So there you have it. Thanks again to Park Manager Eddie Richburg for his second contribution to the CarolinaConsidered Project. Be sure to stop by the next time your travels take you anywhere near Barnwell or Blackville in Lower South Carolina. You won’t be disappointed.

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