Congaree National Park

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Congaree National Park’s official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided brochure that Congaree National Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about an hour, which we have divided into 27 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience.  Sections 1-9 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the majestic natural beauty found in the park along with its history and preservation efforts. Sections 10/27 cover the back of the brochure, and give a detailed description of the activities that can be enjoyed at the park.

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OVERVIEW: Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park, located in Richland County, South Carolina,is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. Congaree National Park encompasses nearly 27,000 acres, including the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Each year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only Congaree National Park can offer. Feel the rough bark of centuries-old trees, listen to the chirping of the birds as you stroll through the forest, and walk along the boardwalk, learning the history of this national treasure. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The front of the brochure includes photographs of trees/artifacts and a map. The text explains the history of the Congaree area detailing the plight of its early settlers starting in 9500 BCE, wars, and freedom from slavery in 1865. It discusses the progress made over the decades, and preservation efforts by local citizens and political leaders that led to the inclusion of Congaree area in the national park system.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Breathe the Air of Ancient Trees

DESCRIPTION:

Page One of the Congaree National Park brochure opens with a later summer panoramic view of the flood plain as viewed from the lower boardwalk. The pictured section of the 2.4-mile boardwalk weaves through the wooded flood plain and shows a family of four African Americans looking into the forest from the boardwalk with the father pointing to an unknown park feature. The boardwalk, which turns to the right around an abundance of water tupelo and bald cypress trees, stretches into the background of the flood plain. The forest floor has a sparse covering of green plant-life and features many cypress knees protruding skyward above the undergrowth. The boardwalk winds into the distance around the trees at an elevation of two feet. The abundance of trees creates a shaded canopy above the boardwalk, with each tree sharing flood watermarks that darken the trees symmetrically up from the forest floor at a height of three feet on each tree. A handful of the first leaves of autumn spot the gray-planked boardwalk that provides a protective guard rail on each side the entire length of the boardwalk. Trees in the foreground of the picture display a growth of green moss on the bark of the massive trees. The bald cypress trees display a buttress shape base that supports the massive tree trunks of the majestic trees. The dark brown floor of the flood plain is dotted with numerous trigs and a wide variety of vegetation.

CREDIT:

NPS


RELATED TEXT:

Welcome to the wild heart of South Carolina—a land of towering trees, of floods and fire, of woodland paths and water trails used by people for over 10,000 years. These ancient trees have witnessed wars, slavery, freedom, and destruction. This rare old-growth floodplain forest was almost lost. In 1976, it became part of the nearly 27,000 acres of Congaree National Park.

Congaree’s floodplain and uplands are steeped in folk tales, ghost stories, and fond memories. Carrie Barber White, who grew up near here, remembers summer weekends spent at Cedar Creek, where “it would be so cool and inviting.” Today, she and her sisters bring grandchildren to look for birds, frogs, and salamanders.

What will you experience here? Listen for the song of a warbler. Fish the creek and lakes. Paddle a kayak into wilderness quiet. Walk through the upland and inhale its piney scent while looking for signs of past residents. And be sure to come back. Congaree National Park is a land of constant change and new discoveries.


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IMAGES: Trees of Congaree

IMAGE 1 of 8: Sweetgum 

DESCRIPTION:

Below the featured picture of the boardwalk are eight green illustrations of trees that are commonly found in the park. From left to right, the first illustration is of the broad shaped sweetgum tree. This bright green leaf is a shaped somewhat like a star, has a broad leaf with five points, and a truncated base spanning 3-5 inches.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 2 of 8: American beech

DESCRIPTION:

The second leaf is the American beech which features a simple, serrated, alternately arranged with an elliptical shape. The green leaves are tapered and vary in length among the cluster at a length of 2-4 inches.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 3 of 8: Swamp chestnut oak

DESCRIPTION:

The next leaf is the swamp chestnut oak which is somewhat oval shaped and tapered at the base. Each leaf has numerous shallow lobes along the edges. A distinguishing feature of the leaf is large teardrop shape that extends from a triad of leaves.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 4 of 8: American holly

DESCRIPTION:

The American holly is the next featured leaf. It is identified in the illustration by an elliptical shaped leaf with several spiny points and a deep vein that runs down the middle of the leaf. This broadleaf is an evergreen and produces bright red berries in the winter.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 5 of 8: Water tupelo

DESCRIPTION:

The water tupelo is the next featured leaf and is very symmetrical, large and oblong in shape. The leaf has a pointed tip and the illustration features a cluster of six leaves extending in various directions.

CREDIT:

Jeff Reimer and Walter Mark


IMAGE 6 of 8: Dwarf palmeto 

DESCRIPTION:

The dwarf palmetto that is illustrated has a leaf that resembles a dark green fan and features 20 narrow, long, divided leaflets. The shape is that of a multi-pointed star and grows at the end of a long stem. A long rib runs the length of each leaflet.

CREDIT:

Chris Evans, University of Illinois


IMAGE 7 of 8: Lololly pine

DESCRIPTION:

The loblolly pine has a needle-shaped leaf that resembles a brush. Each long, thin needle emerges from a cluster. The illustration displays two pinecones that are growing behind the clump of pine needles.

CREDIT:

Larry Kohrnak


IMAGE 8 of 8: Bald cypress 

DESCRIPTION:

The bald cypress is the illustrated leaf on the far right. It is characterized by small, thin inch-long needles that grow in symmetrical clusters that resemble short bristles.

CREDIT:

NPS / Justin Hobart

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MAP and TEXT: 35 million acres lost

DESCRIPTION:

This map illustrates the extent of old-growth floodplain forests prior to the European settlement of the United States. The map shows the states from Texas east to Florida along the Gulf Coast and north to Delaware and Maryland along the Atlantic coast. Also included are all the states up to Missouri in the west and Kentucky in the north. This gray-shaded map is punctuated with large, thick green lines that trace up the major river valleys of the region. These start at the coastlines and snake their way inland. The largest of these areas is the massive Mississippi River Valley that extends into southern Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. All of these areas formed the once expansive old-growth floodplain forests. A line is drawn to present day Congaree National Park, which is home to the largest remnant of that once vast forest ecosystem, which at 11,000 acres, is too small to see on the map. 

CAPTION:

Congaree National Park protects the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest in the United States—an area too small to see on this map.

RELATED TEXT:

The dark green on this map shows where old-growth floodplain forests used to grow. Today over 99 percent of this forest is gone. Less than one half of one plain percent—11,000 acres — is protected in the park. What happened? Trees were cut for ships, railroads, and buildings. The floodplains were drained for pastures, farms, and cities.


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IMAGE: Harry Hampton

DESCRIPTION:

The brochure features a photograph of the journalist and celebrated champion of Congaree, Harry Hampton. In the picture, he stands in front of a mammoth bald cypress tree that sports a wide buttress at the base. The surrounding forest floor is composed of dark, bare dirt and Mr. Hampton stands with his hands on his hips and his left foot resting on a short cypress knee. He wears rugged outdoor gear including a brimmed hat, opened jacket, and high-rise brush trousers. The tree reaches skyward at an enormous height joining green branches of surrounding trees to form a leafy canopy above dense forest. The picture is actually two photographs. The one of Mr. Hampton, is black-and-white and dates back decades to when he scouted the floodplain. This photograph is carefully superimposed onto a modern-day color photograph that includes the massive tree, forest floor and the surrounding trees of the flood plain. Sunshine peers into the floodplain through a narrow opening at the top left corner of the photograph.

CAPTION:

Harry Hampton – Journalist and champion of Congaree, Hampton posed next to a bald cypress in the 1950s. It towers over 130 feet and still stands — thanks to his efforts and those of others he inspired.


CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


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IMAGE and TEXT : Bald cypress knees

DESCRIPTION:

The brochure includes a photograph of a dense grove of broad-buttressed, bald cypress trees and displays the cypress knees that surround the base of each tree. These knees extend up to three feet upward from the flood plain and feature rounded tips. Some cypress knees divide into a fork shape at the top and about a dozen of them in the foreground of the photo extend out of shallow water. The high number of bald cypress trees create a thick wall that seem to block out a view beyond 100 feet. Narrow beams of sunlight spotlight small sections of the flood plain floor.

CAPTION:

Bald cypress knees

CREDIT:

NPS / James and Jenny Tarpley


RELATED TEXT:

This tree’s broad base and complex root system help hold it steady during a flood. The knees might also help stabilize it. Many giant trees grow here, and some are considered “champion trees” — the largest of their kind in the state or even in the nation. The park has numerous champions, including pawpaw, loblolly pine, and sweetgum.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Walk in the footsteps of ancestors; first people of the Congaree, 9500 BCE–1700 CE

IMAGE 1 of 4: Stone arrowheads

DESCRIPTION:

A series of four images from left to right:

The first image is a photograph of three ancient Native American artifacts. On the top left is a small, narrow, light-colored triangular arrowhead. It is made of flint-like rock and roughly even on all three sides, with the base of the arrowhead at the top being slightly shorter. It has many tool marks in the form of raised ridges and dimples from the crafting of the arrowhead. The right hand side is slightly in shadow and looks darker than the rest of the arrowhead. Below and slightly to the right is a second, larger arrowhead. The stone is of a rough texture and is also light in color with hues of pink mixed in. The left hand side of the arrowhead is a roughly even edge from the top to the bottom with a slight protrusion near the top. The right hand side is not even and about halfway up the side has a significant bulge from the middle to the top of the arrowhead. The base of the arrowhead at the top has a trapezoidal projection in the middle where the arrowhead connected to the shaft of the arrow. The right hand side is also in shadow and slightly darker than the rest of the arrowhead. The third artifact to the right of the second is a clay, light brown pot sherd. It is slightly convex, with the top and right hand side having straight edges. The right hand side is jagged and uneven from top to bottom. The surface of the sherd has numerous parallel markings etched into the surface from the top to the bottom of the artifact.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 2 of 4: Pawpaw

DESCRIPTION:

The second image is of pawpaw fruit and their leaves. Three pawpaw fruit are clustered together in a bunch, with one of the fruits behind and partially obscured by the other two. The fruit are roughly oval in shape with the fruit at the front of the bunch having a curve along its back side and having a bean-like shape. The three fruit are a light green in color with from slight, light brown markings. The front fruit has a dark brown spot at the very bottom. The pawpaw on the left of the bunch points from left to right while the two other fruit point from the top to bottom. Behind the fruit are seven pawpaw leaves arrayed in a fan-shape, partially obscured by the fruit. The leaves are green and slightly faded with each having a central vein that runs up the middle and are slightly white towards the base of the leaves. The leaves are widest at the top and taper to a narrow point at the base.

CREDIT:

University of Missouri / © Kyle Spradley 


IMAGE 3 of 4: Hernando DeSoto meets people of Cofitachequi 

DESCRIPTION:

The third image is a black and white drawing of the meeting of two groups of people. On the left side of the image are a group of Spanish soldiers looking to the right side of the image. They are wearing 16th century armor with curved steel helmets, steel breastplates, baggy pants, and carrying swords with intricately designed hilts. At the left center of the image is Hernado de Soto, facing to the right of the image towards and group approaching him. with is back towards the viewer. He is wearing steel armor to protect his torso, arms and neck. He has a sash that crosses his right shoulder and wraps around on his left side. His sword scabbard extends behind him from his side next to his left leg. He is holding his steel helmet with a feathered plume in his right hand. On the right side of the image is a group of Native Americans. At the center right of the image in front of the group is a Native American woman. She has long dark hair that covers her shoulders. She has a long earring that drops from her ear to past her left shoulder on the viewers right. She is wearing a long robe the extends from her shoulders to the ground and extends are behind her. She is wearing intricate jewelry across her chest that extends to near her midriff. She is wearing a long skirt that extends from her hips to the ground. Her right arm, on the viewers left, is extended outwards with an open hand. Behind her is a group of huddled men and women, all with long dark hair. Some are have feathered adornments on their heads. A spear with feathered ornaments is carried by a member of the group and non-threateningly points upwards and slightly to the viewers left.

CREDIT:

State Archives of Florida


IMAGE 4 of 4: A New Voyage pamphlet

DESCRIPTION:

The fourth image is the title page of an 18th century book by explorer John Lawson. The text on the page is surrounded by two rectangular boxes around the text on the page. The outer box has a border with a darker, thicker line, while the inner box has a border that is thinner and lighter in color. The text on the page is separated into three boxes. The text in the first box reads “A New Voyage to Carolina; containing the Exact Description and Natural History of that Country; Together with the Present State thereof and A Journal of a Thousand Miles, Traveled through several Nations of Indians. Giving a particular Account of their Customs, Manners, etcetera.” The works Voyage, Carolina and Country are in large, all capital letters, while a journal are also in all capital letters, though smaller. The letter s in the words description, history, present, several and customs are actually printed using the letter f. The second box below the title text reads “By John Lawson, Gentleman Surveyor General of North Carolina. Gentleman has been abbreviated G-E-N-T and North Carolina is in italics. The third box says “London; Printed in the year 1709.”

CREDIT:

State Archives of Florida


RELATED TEXT:

First people of the Congaree (9500 BCE–1700 CE) – Hunters and Gatherers

The area’s first people find plenty of food in the floodplain and uplands, like pawpaw. They hunt with stone arrowheads.

Traders, chiefs

By 1000 BCE (before common era), people begin settling in villages near here to farm, hunt, and gather. They add distinctive patterns to pottery and build large mounds, perhaps for burials. Chiefdoms develop from 1000 to 1600 CE. A major village, Cofitachequi, is near the park along the Wateree River.

Europeans

Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto meets people of Cofitachequi in 1540. As diseases ravage their people, chiefdoms realign into smaller tribes—including the Congaree.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Settlement, Wars, and Slavery, 1700-1865

IMAGE 1 of 2: Ferry system

DESCRIPTION:

A series of two images from left to right:

The first image is a 19th century black and white photograph of a ferry at a river crossing taken from a distance. The ferry is a long, low, and flat water craft that has fence like railings on both sides of the vessel and is pulled up to the shore at the edge of a river. The end of the ferry closest to the viewer has a raised platform. On the ferry is a wagon loaded with a variety of indistinguishable items. The wagon has wheels of two different sizes. The rear wheels are the largest, while the front wheels are around three quarters the size of the rear. The wagon is being pulled by two mules who are wearing harnesses that tether them to the wagon. Three individuals are on the ferry and facing towards the camera. A woman stands at the front of the ferry towards the center of the photograph. She is wearing a wide bonnet. She is wearing a long, light colored, long-sleeved blouse that is cinched at her waist and a skirt that goes from her waist to her feet. Her right hand, on left as she is facing the camera, is resting on the rail of the ferry. She is standing in front of one of the mules, blocking its head from view. The second individual is a man on the opposite side of the ferry from the woman. He is leaning heavily against the railing, his legs extended far forward of his body. He is wearing a dark, wide brimmed hat, a white long-sleeved shirt and light colored pants. His left hand, on the right as he faces the camera, is placed across his chest and resting near his right shoulder, left as he faces the camera. The third individual is also a man and is on the raised platform at the front of the ferry to the right of the other two individuals. He is wearing a dark jacket and dark pants, along with a dark cap. His hand is resting on a post beside his right leg, left as he faces the camera, his other arm resting at his side. The rope the get the ferry across the river is seen running in front of all three individuals. In the foreground and to the center of the photograph are two dark colored dogs. Both dogs are on shore. One dog is just to the right of the woman is facing towards the ferry, away from the camera. The other is slight to the right of the other dog and farther forward standing next to a post. It is standing and facing towards the right side of the photograph, its rear end slightly lowered down as if rising from a sitting position. In the center foreground is a scrubby looking bush. More scrubby vegetation is on the edge of the riverbank on the left hand side of the photograph.

CREDIT:

Library of Congress


IMAGE 2 of 2: Slave laborers

DESCRIPTION:The second image is a drawing that is a night time scene of a group of escaped African-American slaves who have gathered in the forest next to a stream under a lean-to shelter. The lean-to shelter is made of flat strips of wood across a wooden framework and is built on a small rise of land. There are 8 men in the image. On the left side of the image, a man is walking towards the camp carrying a sack of supplies on his shoulder, his features hard to distinguish because of the shadows. In front of him and just to the right is a man leaning against a stack of old bricks with his chin resting on his hand. His face is lit by a fire in the center of the picture while his back is in shadows. To the right to this man stands another man just outside the lean-to, his features mostly obscured by shadows. He is wearing a hat and a baggy shirt, and is taking a drink from a jug. Just to his right is a man standing next to the fire. He is holding a griddle pan in his hand and looking to the right of the image. Around his head is wrapped a handkerchief. Sitting in the foreground next to fire is another man with a beard who has removed his shoes and has his left hand on his left foot. In front of him next to the fire is a cup. Three men are under the lean-to resting. Towards the center of the image is the first man under the lean-to sitting cross-legged and looking to the right of the image at the man sitting next to him. The second man is young and is leaning back on his elbows, his legs extended in front of him and towards the fire near the center of the image. His is wearing hat and his shadow is cast on the lean-to behind him. The only part of the third person visible is their legs. Their feet are together and legs pulled back towards them, bent at the knees. They are wearing pants, the cuffs rolled up from the bottom close to their knees. Grass along the stream is in the foreground of the picture.

Description here

CREDIT:

Schomburg Center for Black Culture


RELATED TEXT:

UNEASE – Europeans begin to take land from native people for farms and settlements. In 1716, the tribes fight the English and lose. The Congaree, reduced earlier by disease and now by war, join the Catawba. Settlers establish ferries across the Congaree River by the 1740s. Landowners use enslaved people to clear and develop the floodplain for growing crops.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION – Soldiers skirmish nearby. Brig. Gen. Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox, leads a siege that breaks the British hold on this area.

SANCTUARY – People running from slavery find shelter here and even form small communities. During the Civil War, Union soldiers destroy railroads and bridges as they march by.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Freedom and a farm; community and industry, 1865 - 1950

IMAGE 1 of 4: 40 Acres and a Mule

DESCRIPTION:

The first photo appears above the title “Community and Industry 1865-1950.” In the center of this black-and-white photo is an African American woman walking behind a small plow which is being pulled by a mule across a field. Both the woman and mule are heading away from the viewer towards the left of the photo, so that all you can see is the woman’s back and a slight side-profile of the mule. The field is empty except for the slightly raised rows of dirt crossing diagonally in the direction she and the mule are travelling.

The woman appears to be wearing a simple plain dress, which extends almost all the way to the ground. Her head, which is bent slightly forward, is covered with what appears to be a whitish colored wrap, which extends in a “pony tail” just past her shoulders. You can also see her left hand resting on one of the plow’s handles. The mule appears to have a simple harness just below the back of its neck, which is attached to the plow. The woman and mule are heading in the direction of a small, rough-looking cabin in the distance. The cabin has a couple of scraggly, leafless trees directly in front of it. Behind the cabin and the field, in the background, is a line of what looks to be pine trees that stretches all the way across the photo from left to right. One taller tree can be seen at the right edge of the field closer to the foreground. Although you cannot tell whether it is sunny or overcast, the gray sky in the black-and-white photo gives a somber tone to the already bleak and fallow field below.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 2 of 4: Cotton

Where the first and second primary photos in the timeline meet, there is a small photo superimposed over their boundary. This photo, which has been trimmed so that all you can see is the main subject, is of two nearly round cotton. The two white bolls are hanging down one above the other on the left side of a thin brown stalk.


CREDIT:

Matthew Webb


IMAGE 3 of 4: Baptism in Cedar Creek

DESCRIPTION:

The second primary photo in the timeline is a historic black-and-white photo showing a baptism ceremony. The photo is dominated by a water scene, either a lake or a large creek. Emerging from the dark water is a thick forest which extends across the photo from left to right and to the top. On the right side of the photo is a group of a couple dozen African American men, women and children standing in shallow water. The adult members of this group are standing towards the background of the image. About half of the adults are wearing all white clothes and the other half appear to be wearing mostly darker clothing. Most are wearing hats and about half-a-dozen of the adults towards the background of the photo are holding umbrellas, which appear gray in the black-and-white photo. There are several children closer to the foreground who are wearing dark pants, white shirts and wide-brimmed hats. The hats have dark hat bands and appear white in the photo.

Almost all the members of the group appear to be looking off to the left of the photo, where there is a smaller group of several people standing in waist-deep water standing in a row far enough away from the camera that you cannot distinguish specific features about their faces. The four individuals are wearing white clothing, which is reflected in the dark rippling water. None of this smaller group are wearing hats or holding umbrellas. There appears to be a man on the left side of the group who has his right hand outstretched at a 45 degree angle towards a woman, who appears to be the primary subject of this photo. The woman appears rigid in her posture, with her arms directly to her side all the way into the water. Because of her stance, her pure white clothing gives the shape of an upright rectangle that extends into the water. There also seems to be at least one other individual standing between her and the man with outstretched hand. This person appears to be reaching out and gently holding onto the woman’s arm near her elbow. Directly behind the woman and slightly off to the side (to the viewer’s right) is another person holding what appears to be a large blanket. The blanket is being held directly in front of and above the person’s head and extends down into the water. The dark water appears calm, except for small ripples that are heading towards the bottom left corner of the photograph.

CREDIT:

NPS



IMAGE 4 of 4: Irvin Portee

DESCRIPTION:

The final image of this section of the timeline is a black-and-white photograph which itself is turned slightly to the viewer’s left so that the photo is angled and not completely upright. The photo shows Irvin Portee, an African American man, paddling a canoe through what is now Congaree National Park. Mr. Portee is wearing dark colored overalls and wide-brimmed hat. He is looking slightly off to the viewer’s right and has a wide smile. He is gripping a wooden canoe paddle, which he appears to be pulling towards himself to propel the canoe. The background shows a cypress forest emerging from the creek where he is paddling.

CREDIT:

NPS


RELATED TEXT:


Freedom and a Farm – After the Civil War, freed people in South Carolina can buy farms from the state in a program some call “40 acres and a mule.” In the Congaree area, they farm the floodplain and the uplands. They hunt, fish, and many are baptized in Cedar Creek. They establish towns close to Congaree where they start businesses and raise families.


Logging – In the late 1890s, the Beidler family buys most of the Congaree floodplain for its trees. Logging this dense, wet forest is hard and expensive. They quit—for now.


Living – Irvin Portee, born and raised near Congaree, learns how to “doctor” horses and other farm animals. He also guides hunters and anglers through the forest on weekends.

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IMAGES and TEXT: Full Circle, 1950 – present


IMAGE 1 of 3: Logging

DESCRIPTION:

The first image in this section of the timeline is a black-and-white photo showing an African American man driving a large tractor-like machine pulling a trailer loaded with long cut logs. The entire contraption appears to be on rails similar to railroad tracks. The logs are stacked about five high and are held together by one large chain running around them. The viewpoint is looking at the side profile of the operation. Behind the machine and operator is a dark forest of thin trees. Directly in front of the tracks is a stack of smaller logs. To the left of the stack of logs is a stack of rails which run at a 45 degree angle towards the viewer.

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 2 of 3: Saw

DESCRIPTION:

This color photo from the early 1970s shows three men standing around a very large splintered stump of a recently logged tree. The young man to the left, who is wearing a small backpack, is looking across the stump to an older man with white hair. The older man, Dr. James Tanner, stares down intently at the stump as he uses a long piece of splintered wood to count the rings in the stump. The third man is standing behind the stump is leaning over the stump, looking nearly straight down. He has curly dark hair and is wearing a checkered shirt. Behind them is a forest with standing and fallen trees. The entire photo is framed at the bottom by a superimposed photo of a long cross-cut saw, which would have been used by a two-person team.

CREDIT:

Wikimedia / Eugene Zelenko 


IMAGE 3 of 3: Park visitor

DESCRIPTION:

This color photo shows a solitary young girl on a forested path walking away from the camera. The path is covered in reddish-brown leaves and crisscrossed with roots. Tall trees with green and yellow leaves line the path. Ahead of the girl, the path seems to disappear into the forest.

CREDIT:

NPS


RELATED TEXT:

Trees at Risk – In the 1950s, journalist Harry Hampton begins his work to preserve the Congaree forest. When the Beidlers allow logging again in 1969, Hampton’s effort grows into a grassroots campaign. Politicians from multiple parties join to pass national legislation to preserve the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest in the southeastern United States.


Today – This world-renowned forest remains at risk. Floods bring pollution. Climate change is altering plant growth, animal behavior, and weather patterns. Even so, descendants of enslaved people, members of 17 tribes, and millions of visitors come to enjoy Congaree National Park. As we walk through its wilderness, we walk in the footsteps of those who came before.

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The back of the brochure includes a collage, scenic photos, illustrations, and maps. The text invites visitors to explore this special place through descriptions of the amenities and facilities found at the park. It also contains information on safety and driving direction to Congaree.

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COLLAGE: Visit the Home of Thousands of Species

TEXT: 

Congaree’s old-growth floodplain forest and uplands support an extraordinary variety of life. Because of this diversity, the park is designated an International Biosphere Reserve.


IMAGE 1 of 19: Luna Moth

In the upper left corner is an illustration of a lunar moth. This moth has light green coloring on both the pointed hind tail and broader forewings. The large fore wings have a narrow yellow margin that runs around the border of its oblong shape. Each forewing is adorned with a bean-shaped tan dot symmetrically located near its head. The hind tail is long and slender with similar coloration to the wings.

CREDIT:

NPS / Theresa Thom


IMAGE 2 of 19: Anole

DESCRIPTION:

Across the top of the page close to center is the anole. Although the anole is a lizard with the ability to change colors, the one pictured is brown. It has a long tail and legs that display spread toes that assist it with climbing. Its head is pointed and has a drooping throat fan. Its eyes are yellow with a black conical pupil.

CREDIT:

Anne Voelkel


IMAGE 3 of 19: Owl pellets

DESCRIPTION:

On the far right at the top of the page is a picture of a handful of owl pellets. The pellets are dark brown and resemble the contextual structure of rice. The pellets are displayed in a human’s left hand with two fingers of the right hand spreading the pellets in the palm of the left hand. Fluffy, beige long sleeves extend on the person’s lower arm to the wrists.

CREDIT:

NPS / Congaree

RELATED TEXT:

At night – Owls fly silently through the forest each night. In early summer, synchronous fireflies flash in unison, providing a rarely seen light show.


IMAGE 4 of 19: Barred owl

DESCRIPTION:

The barred owl is pictured on the far right of the page. It is sitting on a tree branch facing the viewer. This owl is a stocky with a rounded face. The body is a mottled brown and white pattern with almost black eyes that slant upward from the nose outward. It has a slight circular patter around both eyes that resembles a mask. It sports a vertical brown pattern on its belly and horizontal brown bars around its neck and upper body. Its tail extends slightly below the tree branch on which it is sitting and is brown. Tiffs of feathers extend slightly from both shoulders

CREDIT:

FWS / Mark Musselman


IMAGE 5 of 19: Pileated woodpecker

DESCRIPTION:

The pileated woodpecker is one of the biggest, most strikingly attractive birds found in the Congaree National Park. The one pictured in the brochure is perched on the side of a hardwood tree. It is a large bird and is black with bold white stripes down the neck and a bright-red crown. It has a heavy bill and it compares in size to the American crow.

CREDIT:

Gary Lloyd-Rees

RELATED TEXT:

Birds – The park is famous for its variety of birds. Thousands of songbirds migrate through here or stay the winter. 


IMAGE 6 of 19: Prothonotary warbler

DESCRIPTION:

The prothonotary warbler is a medium-sized bird that can be identified by its very bright yellow head and breast and its bluish wings and green-gray undersides and tail. It has a long, straight bill that is black. Pictured in the brochure, it is sitting on a small branch with its tail to the left and head to the right.

CREDIT:

Greg Schneider Photography 


IMAGE 7 of 19: Feral hog

DESCRIPTION:

The feral hog illustrated in the brochure to the right of the warbler is pictured among green flood plain undergrowth. The feral hog is a medium sized animal with a stout, barrel-like body. It has short, slender legs, and a relatively long-pointed head supported by a thick neck. Its snout is blunt and rounded. It has small dark eyes and both ears are pointed upward above its sloping forehead. Its hairy body is covered with short, narrow brown hair and its short straight tail stands vertical.

CREDIT:

Duane Burdick 

RELATED TEXT:

Not Welcome –  Feral hogs dig constantly for food, which damages native plants and animals, and historic sites.


IMAGE 8 of 19: Common whitetail dragonfly

DESCRIPTION:

The common whitetail dragonfly is pictured above and to the right of the feral hog. With its head pointing to the upper left and tail pointed downward to the lower right, this stocky, double-winged dragonfly has a brown body with slight white specks. Its wings are clear with each sporting broad black stripes. The dragonfly’s head is bulbous with large brown eyes on either side.

CREDIT:

NPS / Theres Thom

RELATED TEXT:

1,000 Species – Over 1,000 species of moths live here, along with 140 species of butterflies, and thousands of other insects.


IMAGE 9 of 19: Pearl crescent butterfly on swamp milkweed

DESCRIPTION:

Below the common whitetail dragonfly is pictured a pearl crescent butterfly perched on a swamp milkweed. With its wings extended vertically, this orange and black winged butterfly has a brown body and antenna that extend backwards towards its speckled wings. Each wing is bordered by a black margin. Its milkweed perch has a green stem at reaches upward to the upper right to a cluster of tiny pink flowers.

CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


IMAGE 10 of 19: Red-spotted purple butterfly

DESCRIPTION:

Pictured across the center of the page and to the right above the butterweed is the red-spotted purple butterfly. It is tilted facing upward and slightly to the right. Its upside is dark purple with a white iridescence on the outer edges of the hindwing. The forewing has two red-orange spots near the tip of the dark purple wing and, along with the lighter-colored hindwing. Both the forewing and the hindwing are bordered on the outer edges by outer margins of alternating pale blue and dark blue linings. The body is a dark purple and has two antennas extending forward from its tapered head.

CREDIT:

NPS / Theresa Thom



IMAGE 11 of 19: Inchworm

DESCRIPTION:

To the right of the fox squirrel is a picture of a Caucasian hand extended out with the palm up. On the shortest finger is a tiny inchworm hunched up and crawling. One of the tiniest of all caterpillars, the inchworm a light green and is traveling left to right by moving its rare forward causing its midsection to arch up before extending its front end. The hand is adorned by a long-sleeve, light green shirt that has a narrow black band wristband encircling the end of the garment.

CREDIT:

NPS / James and Jenny Tarpley

IMAGE 12 of 19: Firefly

DESCRIPTION:

To the right of the firefly is a firefly perched on a short stem that runs left to right. Facing left this small insect has a long body characterized by extended antenna and downward-facing face, bright orange neck, and long brown body. The body of the insect has a pale-yellow underside below its wing. It resembles a beetle in shape, and it walks on spiny legs.

CREDIT:

© Ben Pfeiffer 


IMAGE 13 of 19: Butterweed

DESCRIPTION:

Pictured to the right of the pearl crescent butterfly illustration is the butterweed. This plant has a rigid green stem that branches into six short green stems. Each stem contains small, bright-yellow flowers. Each flower sports a round yellow lobe in the middle and petals of a lighter yellow tint. The flowerheads all extend from the top of the main green stem but reach in all directions upward offering a bouquet of budding and opened yellow flowers.

CREDIT:

NPS / Keith Coffer 


IMAGE 14 of 19: Fox squirrel

DESCRIPTION:

Below the red-spotted purple butterfly is the fox squirrel. This squirrel is sitting up on its hind legs with its front paws holding something up to its mouth. It has a long, bushy tail that curls over its body. Its body has a white underbelly, a frosted-gray plump body, a darker gray tail, and it sports a black mask between its white ears and white snout. It is standing in short grass.

CREDIT:

© Paula K. Maslar 


IMAGE 15 of 19: White-tailed deer

DESCRIPTION:

Below the inchworm is a tiny white-tailed deer fawn. The fawn’s hind side is facing the viewer and it is peering around the left side of its small body to the viewer. The fawns light brown body has a pattern of small white dots that narrow as they reach a point near its tail. The fawn has large brown ears that are oblong and rise above its head. Its eyes are dark and is has a pale coloration around its long protruding face. It is nestled in a leafy green undergrowth as if it is hiding.CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


IMAGE 16 of 19: River otter

DESCRIPTION:

The last animal illustrated on the far right of the page is the river otter. The river otter has its tail facing the viewer and is looking around the left side of its muscular body displaying its long, brown body. Its fur appears wet and sleek. It has a long furry tail that tapers from its rare and is covered with sleek hair. Its elongated head has a small neck and its body is broadest at the hips. It has a distinctive white whiskers and white markings under its chin and above its puffed mouth. It has very short, rounded ears and short legs.

CREDIT:

© Barry Troutman


IMAGE 17 of 19: Five-lined skink

DESCRIPTION:

Located above the park map and below the three windows describing the flood stages is the five-lined skink. This skink is a moderately large lizard that is streamlined from its nose to its tail. Five distinctive yellow stripes run the length of the skink’s body with one prominent one symmetrically positioned at the center of its body. Two other stripes run on either side of the center stripe. The skink’s legs have thin pointed toes for grasping and climbing. Its long black tail is curled in shape to the skink’s left and reaches up to its hind legs.

CREDIT:

Bugwood / © Rebekah Wallace


IMAGE 18 of 19: Great Blue Heron

DESCRIPTION:

Below and to the far right of the park map is an illustration of a great blue heron that is visible from its shoulder to its bill facing the right-side of the page. The heron is a very tall, very large angular bird with a very long S-shaped neck. Its bill is long, has an orange color and is open as it holds a small crawfish. The grayish-blue feathers of its body lighten as it reaches the neck where the feathers transition to white.

CREDIT:

© Hammerchewer 

RELATED TEXT:

COMMON FOOD – Seven kinds of crayfish live here, and all are eaten by many animals, including this great blue heron. During dry times, crayfish burrow deep into the soil and are safe from other animals.


IMAGE 19 of 19: Green treefrog

DESCRIPTION:

On the bottom right corner of the page is an illustration of a green tree frog The frog is looking directly at the viewer as it sits grasping a light brown branch extending from the lower left to the upper right. The frog has a green, rounded upper body with a yellow belly. Its mouth is runs the width of its face and has narrow pronounced lips. It has rounded eyes on the side of its face that bulge and are slightly orange in color. Its toes are long and have swollen rounded pads on the end of each. All four of its feet are holding the branch in the illustration.

CREDIT:

© Becky Williams Photography

RELATED TEXT:

Amphibians – This green treefrog is one the 18 kinds of frogs in the park. Four toad species also live here, and nine kinds of salamanders.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Explore along the boardwalk

DESCRIPTION:

A group of park visitors enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Boardwalk at Congaree National Park. A female park ranger walks backwards while the small group listens intently as she talks to them. Another park ranger walks behind the group. Behind him at the end of the line, is a young girl wearing a vest with many colorful patches sewn on it. A large tupelo tree stands in the foreground on the left side of the boardwalk. Smaller tupelo trees stand on either side of the boardwalk as it gently curves through a high stand of switch-cane. This photo was taken in the Fall, as indicated by the slightly yellowish/gold cypress needles on the baldcypress trees in the background. 


CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


RELATED TEXT:

Come wander among towering trees, hear the rata-tat-tat of a pileated woodpecker, and soak in the history of “the swamp.” Head out on your own, follow the self-guiding tour, or join a ranger-led walk. The boardwalk is for people of all ages and abilities. You can walk the full 2.4-mile loop or explore a small section. If it has been raining, parts of the boardwalk might be slick or underwater. Local people come here often; they know the Congaree floodplain is a place of constant change and surprise.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Paddle through the floodplain

DESCRIPTION:

The scene is along the tranquil waters of the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail. A man and woman wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) paddles down the creek, which is surrounded by a thick canopy of tupelo and baldcypress trees. Ahead of them are two other individuals in separate kayaks, who are also heading downstream. 


CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


RELATED TEXT:

Paddle Cedar Creek through the watery wilderness of Congaree. Discover “walking trees,” spot a great blue heron, watch leaves twirl in the current. You can also approach the park along the Congaree River’s Blue Trail and camp in the wilderness. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or join the popular ranger-led tour. The paddling experience changes as water levels change. Before you start your trip, get updated information from the visitor center.

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IMAGE and TEXT: Hike into the wilderness

DESCRIPTION:

The image is a  autumn forest scene. On the left hand side of the photograph is a a person hiking on a trail from the left side of the image to right. The person is visible from the torso down to the feet. The person is wearing a dark blue fleece vest with a brown shirt underneath, blue jeans, and tan and gray hiking books with light blue laces. They have a hiking stick in their right hand. The forest floor is covered with leaves of brown, red and yellow. Fall colors of yellow and red blend with leaves that are still green. A variety of different trees fill the background of the photograph, varying in size and shape. Some trees are large with wide spreading roots. Other trees are much younger and have a smaller circumference.

CREDIT:

NPS / James and Jenny Tarpley


RELATED TEXT:

Spend a few hours or a week walking the wilderness trails. They cross the bluff and its loblolly plantations, taking you by sites used in ancient and more recent times. Trails in the floodplain lead to oxbow lakes, primitive camping deep in the forest, and opportunities for solitude. The Bates Ferry Trail follows a historic road to the banks of the Congaree River.

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TEXT: Discover in-depth activities

DESCRIPTION:

This photograph shows four African-American students working in a lab. There is one girl and three boys in the picture. The young girl in the foreground of the image is intently studying on object on the table in front of her. She is wearing an bright orange and gray shirt and is wearing her hair up. On the table in front of her are a number of containers. There are several jars open on the table with the lids removed. There is also a plastic tupperware container containing indistinguishable contents. Between the young girl and the boys in the background behind here are two magnification vessels. The boy sitting beside the young girl is mostly obscured. He is holding a pencil in his left hand and is wearing a red shirt. Across from him sits another boy wearing a white shirt and writing on a worksheet. Further back and sitting facing the camera is a third boy who is also working on schoolwork. The room around the students has a number of items on the wall, including posters behind the young girls head, and emergency equipment. There is a door in the background that leads to another room. A computer monitor is visible in the background on a desk with a cabinet above it.

On the far right at the top of the page is a picture of a handful of owl pellets. The pellets are dark brown and resemble the contextual structure of rice. The pellets are displayed in a human’s left hand with two fingers of the right hand spreading the pellets in the palm of the left hand. Fluffy, beige long sleeves extend on the person’s lower arm to the wrists.

CREDIT:

NPS / Paul Angelo


RELATED TEXT:

Like many national parks, Congaree is a laboratory for science research at all levels. Scientists and students come here from around the world. Ask about ongoing projects and recent research findings. You might see a researcher at work or children taking water samples. Perhaps you can join a bird or butterfly count. These are just a few of the ways to experience the research underway here. Find out more on the park website.

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ILLUSTRATIONS and TEXT: Fed by floods

TEXT:

The Congaree River is bounded on both sides by bluffs that mark the edge of the floodplain and help contain floodwaters that cover much of the park each year. Floods bring in minerals and other nutrients to the floodplain ecosystem.

INFOGRAPHIC 1 of 3: Dry conditions

An illustration of the Congaree Floodplain is divided into three sections: the northern bluff is shown along the top of the image in brown; the floodplain in the middle of the image is shown in green; and the southern bluff along the bottom of the image is shown in brown. The Congaree River and other streams are shown in blue. This illustration depicts what the landscape looks like in dry conditions. 

Description here

CAPTION:

For most of the year, most of the floodplain is dry. Look for small wet areas, low hills, and fallen trees. These and other small habitats are why so many kinds of plants and animals live here. 

CREDIT:

NPS


INFOGRAPHIC 2 of 3: Minor flooding

DESCRIPTION:

An illustration of the Congaree Floodplain is divided into three sections: the northern bluff is shown along the top of the image in brown; the floodplain in the middle of the image is shown in green; and the southern bluff along the bottom of the image is shown in brown. The Congaree River and other streams are shown in blue. Large areas within the floodplain are shown in blue to illustrate what the landscape looks like when minor flooding events occur. 

CAPTION:

After a heavy rain, guts (small water channels) and low areas begin to fill. Cedar Creek spreads among the trees. Now is a good time to look for fish and salamanders in waters rising along the boardwalk.

CREDIT:

NPS


INFOGRAPHIC 3 of 3: Major flooding

DESCRIPTION:

An illustration of the Congaree Floodplain is divided into three sections: the northern bluff is shown along the top of the image in brown; the floodplain in the middle of the image is shown in solid blue; and the southern bluff along the bottom of the image is shown in brown. The Congaree River is shown in darker blue to indicate its location. The entire floodplain is shown in blue to illustrate how much of the landscape is covered by water during major flooding events.

CAPTION:

Waters can rise fast and high when Cedar Creek and the Congaree River overflow. River otters and other aquatic animals spread out. Land animals head for high spots in the floodplain or move to the uplands.

CREDIT:

NPS

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IMAGE and TEXT: Fed by fire

DESCRIPTION:

This photograph is of group of 10 longleaf saplings in a sunlit forest. The saplings are of varying heights. They have thin trunks with long, green needles extending in all directions from the trunk. On the top of each of the saplings is a group of needles in the shape of a bottle brush. The smallest sapling at the bottom has all brown needles that have died and are limp and lying to the right of the stem. The ground around the trees is covered in tall grass. The grasses are green and brown. Directly behind the pine saplings is thick shrub undergrowth. Rising behind the undergrowth are the straight trunks of a forest of pine trees. The sky is visible through the canopy of the trees on the left side of the photograph over to the center. The forest is very thick in the background and no sky can be seen. 

CAPTION:

Longleaf pine seedlings

CREDIT:

NPS / Ted Schantz


RELATED TEXT:

In the park’s uplands, fire — not flood — is bringing back a rare forest. In the past, longleaf pine dominated the upland regions of the park. These trees depended on regular fire to keep fast-growing hardwoods like sweetgum from taking over. Today the park uses fire carefully to restore the longleaf pine forest. In time, rare animals like the red-cockaded woodpecker may return, along with rare plants.

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MAP: Congaree National Park


DESCRIPTION:

This map is oriented with North at the top. The park is indicated in green and the land around the park is a light tan color. Bodies of water are shown in blue. The park is shown stretching from east to west (right to left). The park is elongated and is much longer than it is wide. The eastern boundary is formed by the winding Wateree River. The southern boundary is formed by the meandering Congaree River which stretches over 25 miles from west to east, where it joins with the Wateree River in the southeastern corner of the park (becoming the Santee River, which is shown fading off the map in the bottom right corner). The short western boundary runs from the Congaree River up to Old Bluff Road. Bluff Road (SC Highway 48) is shown in black running roughly parallel to the northern boundary of the park. The northern and eastern boundaries are irregularly  shaped, as they are formed by property lines and not natural features. 

The primary waterway which snakes through the park, is Cedar Creek, which runs from the northwestern corner at the Bannister Bridge Canoe Landing (indicated with a canoe symbol) across the center of the park and empties into the Congaree River about half way between the eastern and western boundaries. The South Cedar Creek Canoe Landing is also indicated on the map at the creek's mid-way point. Other water features, include oxbow lakes and other small creeks, which are also indicated in blue. 

Other than the Bates Ferry Trail on the eastern side of the park, all of the trails are clustered on the western third of the map. The trails are shown in dashed black lines, except for the rectangular-shaped Boardwalk, which is indicated in brown. The Harry Hampton Visitor Center, along with Longleaf Campground and Bluff Campground are shown near the north-eastern boundary of the park. 



CREDIT:

NPS

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INSET MAP: Wilderness area

DESCRIPTION:

This is a small map depicting the land within Congaree National Park. Most of the map is shaded in green, indicating the areas of the park designated as federal wilderness. The primary exceptions are a large area on the eastern side of the park and small narrow areas on the extreme northern edge of the park. These areas, shown in white, are non-wilderness areas. 

CREDIT:

NPS

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TEXT: Harry Hampton visitor center

Named for the man who helped save Congaree, the visitor center is a good place to begin. A film and exhibits show highlights of the park’s people, plants, and animals. The Boardwalk and Bluff trails start here, as do most ranger programs.

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TEXT: For Everyone

Bring the family for a picnic, a ranger program, or a walk through the woods. Camp at the Longleaf Campground or hike to the primitive Bluff Campground.

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TEXT: Just for Kids

Ask about the Track Trails program and how to become a Junior Ranger.

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TEXT: For Teachers

Bring your students on a field trip or join other teachers on a learning adventure. Go to the park

website for more information.


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TEXT: Wilderness

Most of Congaree National Park is wilderness. This designation protects forever the land’s wild character, natural conditions, opportunities for solitude, and scientific, educational, and historical values. Here you can sense being a part of the whole community of life on Earth.

Explore Congaree’s wilderness on foot via the boardwalk and trails, and by canoe or kayak. Stay in the wilderness at Bluff Campground. Ask at the visitor center about other wilderness camping opportunities.

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TEXT: Rules and Safety

Pets must be leashed; they are allowed on all trails.

• Be alert for poison ivy, stinging insects, and mosquitoes.

• Anglers must have a South Carolina fishing license. Minnows and fish eggs are prohibited as bait.

• Bicycles and motor vehicles are not allowed on trails.

• Motorized watercraft not allowed.

• Littering, digging bait, picking plants, and disturbing wildlife are not permitted.
• For firearms regulations, check the park website.

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TEXT: Getting Here

Congaree National Park is southeast of Columbia, SC. From I-77 take exit 5 onto SC 48 (Bluff Road). Follow the signs to the park.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to the visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website.

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OVERVIEW: More information

Congaree National Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit www.nps.gov.


ADDRESS:

Congaree National Park

100 National Park Road

Hopkins, SC 29061


PHONE:

803-776-4396


WEBSITE:

www.nps.gov/cong


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