Finding something new

Message From The Director

One of our incredible Ultimate Outsider families has recently completed their 10th tour of all of our South Carolina State Parks. As I see their updates on social media, I am always inspired by their effort to do or see something new when they visit. It is easy to fall in love with certain parts of a park and visit those sites or places every time you go. I have favorite trees, spots and views at many parks and always try to catch a glimpse of them when visiting. What I find more exciting, though, is those new discoveries at a place I have been many times before. 

There are some unique histories, stories and locations in our state parks. As a Regional Chief for so many years, I felt like the parks I helped manage had shared all their secrets with me. Now, when I visit and a park manager can show me something I have never seen before, I get excited. On a recent visit to Redcliffe Plantation, the new manager created several of those moments for me. As I entered the visitor center, I immediately saw an old microfiche machine in the corner that had been donated to the park from a local library. The park already had the microfiche records of the plantation and now they were sharing these original documents with visitors and researchers. How cool is that? While touring the outbuildings and house, the manager shared some of her new and exciting ideas for interpretation and management of the site, something I always love to hear. Inside the house though is where she really surprised me.  

I have been inside the house at Redcliffe looking at artifacts and the structure, or the building, easily more than 100 different times throughout the years. From the initials carved in the library windowpane, notes inside certain books and stories about the family and collection, I thought I had heard and seen it all. As we went into the attic, part of the behind-the-scenes tour, she showed me something I had never seen before. There on the exposed bricks were two fingerprints left over from the making of and construction of the mansion; fingerprints likely left by people enslaved on the property. A connection not only to the past but to a person who was a part of history. I left inspired and awed at the responsibility we have to protect and tell the stories of these special places. 

So, as I tour parks this year, I hope to find something new in the parks I have visited so many times before. As you explore, maybe you can find some new things too. Have you seen the two-story outhouse? The road Herbert Hoover traveled to visit a park, or the monument used to map the coast? How about the tree carved into rock above a fireplace or the CCC signs made of concrete? Have you read about the road that was supposedly routed by a pig, the weathervane shaped like fruit, or the building made from coquina stone? There are so many cool things to find in our parks, and I cannot wait to see what new things I can see this year. So, if you think you cannot find anything new after your 10th or 100th visit-- think again. 

Center of picture is a thumbprint in the brick.