The Magic of Memories

Message From The Director

During this time of year, many holiday traditions include giving and receiving gifts.   This year, our State Parks have been given an opportunity to participate in that tradition.   You may have seen some of the news articles about the possibility of new parks in our state.   These potential new parks feel like a gift for us, and hopefully for you.  As we anticipate the new gift, I reflect on the gifts I have given or received through the years. The ones that mean the most to me are not the most expensive, they are the ones that are connected to a memory.  Those gifts, when I hold them or remember them, are like magic because they have the power to make me smile, no matter how long ago it was or how the people and the times have changed. 

In the coming year, South Carolina is going to unwrap some new parks.  With the addition of new properties comes the excitement of the unknown.  Like a wrapped present with your name on it, you think you might know what it is, but you can’t be sure.  Will it fit? Will you like it?  The unknown is fun for some but frustrating for others.  The potential of these new properties is a lot like that. While we may not know exactly what the future holds, I can promise you this: like the best gifts, these will hold a little magic in them. 

All our state parks are special places. Through the years that I have worked in and enjoyed parks, the memories and experiences I have accumulated are some of the best gifts I have ever gotten.  When I visit these sites again, I can’t help but smile.  I remember helping my son Connor get into chest waders and stomping through the swamps to help find a trail for a boardwalk.  I think of the overcast afternoon I convinced my sons Jordan and Tyler to join me on a paddle, where we all learned that our hereditary complexion means we can get sunburned even in the rain. I remember camping trips where we shared a chocolate cake with a racoon (not intentionally), sitting with my wife Shannon watching the sun rise over the Atlantic together, and going out on several of our state’s amazing lakes.  Even though the miles and life’s circumstances keep us from doing these as regularly, even now as I remember these moments, I can’t help but smile. 

So, as we wrap up the year and prepare for the next, my hope is that you had some magical moments in parks in 2021.  That you created a memory that brings a smile to your face.  Maybe you have something to remind you of that memory and can reach for that T-shirt you got or the picture you took that makes you laugh. If you have time, maybe you’re close enough to visit again.  From my first day at the former Sergeant Jasper State Park, to this past year as director, my memories in parks are one of the best gifts I have ever received.  Memories of my family, friends, co-workers and visitors sharing experiences in a special place. As I anticipate the unknown of the parks to come, one thing I am certain of is that you and I will get to make some more memories in these special places.  See you in the parks!