This is Where I Need to Be

Message From The Director

With the holiday season in full swing, our minds shift to the most important things in life: family, friends and connections. Yes, connections. Those special things that link us to great memories, experiences and each other. On a recent visit to Givhans Ferry State Park, I experienced an extraordinary connection with our Park Manager, Rick Robertson.  

As I traveled into the park, yellow and red leaves fell from the overhead canopy of oaks that have welcomed visitors for nearly 80 years.  The road leads you to Riverfront Hall, the old community building.  The historic structure still stands strong, overlooking the meandering black water of the Edisto River.  The building was constructed by the boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp 2413 SP 2 back in 1934.  Camp 2413 was responsible for building what was originally known as Edisto State Park and not to be mistaken with Edisto Beach State Park. Confused? The newly formed State Park system was as well. Once the park was acquired, the name was changed to from Edisto State Park to Givhans Ferry.  

One young CCC carpenter, Harry, helped build the park as well as the grand building we now call Riverfront Hall. Harry influenced the park’s future in ways he never could have imagined. Riverfront Hall has provided retreat for thousands of visitors who have utilized the river front area for generations. Young anglers caught their first fish, children learned to swim at the swimming beach and many families have memories of picnics, reunions and even the old fashioned hand fans that would move the humid lowcountry air on a summer day. Harry grew up and took his young family to the park that he help build. They caught fish from the Edisto and learned to swim under the watchful eyes of the boys of the CCC and the building he helped construct. 

Fast forward to 2014 and one of the children who learned to swim with the CCC boys stands beside me looking at his contribution to the legacy of the CCC and his father. Rick Robertson, Harry’s son and current park manager, looks over the newly restored riverfront area of the park.  During the last year Rick has been involved in the restoration project that is a park service point of pride.  

I asked Rick if he ever feels any pressure to uphold the legacy of the CCC and his father, and with a smile Rick said: “No pressure, rather pride and an opportunity to build on the legacy of the CCC and my dad. Phil I love this park. This is where I need to be.”  

Connections are powerful and hard to explain, but very real.  For a moment that afternoon I too was connected with Harry Robertson and the boys of the CCC Camp 2413.  As I stood there with his son, I felt the pride that Rick must feel and shared a piece of that connection.  Atop the hill stands the CCC building that has stood for nearly 80 years keeping a watchful eye on the Edisto and providing a home to so many memories and connections.  During this holiday season take time to “make some memories” and make plans to visit one of your state parks in 2015!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

See you in the parks,