Goose Creek plans series of nature programs
Published 8:12 pm Thursday, January 22, 2015
Lovers of nature and history are invited to Goose Creek State Park for a series of educational programs scheduled over the next several weeks.
The programs will reflect a subtle change in events offered by the park, according to Goose Creek superintendent John Fullwood.
“Some of our programs are starting to shift more toward a focus on park resources, both cultural and natural resources,” Fullwood said. “We average six to eight programs a month and there is no charge for any of them.”
While Fullwood occasionally conducts a program, the bulk of the events are coordinated by rangers Joe Martin and Nicole Crider and environmental specialist Joe Hawley.
Fullwood believes such programs introduce a new audience to Goose Creek.
“These special events and programs bring people out and then they become repeat visitors,” he said.
Some of the programs are centered around the park’s trails, including a hike along Flatty Creek this Saturday at 2 p.m., weather permitting. Anyone planning to participate may meet at the Goose Creek trail parking lot at the entrance to the campground. The short hike will feature views of the marsh and river, and a ranger will lead a discussion of the ecology of that area of the park.
Also slated in upcoming weeks are programs focusing on the park’s Discovery Room in the visitor center, the slithering snakes that inhabit the park, a Mallard Creek hike and a discussion on the benefits of prescribed fire and the important role it plays in the ecosystem of the park.
The Feb. 19 program will be of particular interest to area residents who are keen on local history, Fullwood noted. That program will explore the subject of tar kilns and naval stores in the area.
“We’ve identified over 50 tar kilns in the park, and we’re finding out there is a rich naval stores history in the area,” Fullwood said. “I suppose that has something to do with the founding of Bath. The tar kilns are evidence of that history. We’re finding some old long leaf pines in the park with box face scarring. Early settlers would have hacked the tree to make a little box and the resin of the tree would run down and they’d collect it in the box.”
The areas in and around the park are rich in local history, according to Fullwood.
“And, of course, there’s the history of the lumber industry,” he said. “There’s a lot of untold history in the park and we’re trying to touch on some of that.”
Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn more about efforts to increase the long leaf pine population in the park.
“We know that the park was once a long leaf forest … long leaf pines were the predominant tree in the park,” Fullwood said. “We’re working on a restoration project to establish a long leaf pine community in the park. With generous assistance from Weyerhaeuser, we’re planting long leaf seedlings in some areas.”
Goose Creek State Park is open daily year round, except for Christmas Day. That means residents of Beaufort County and surrounding areas have ample opportunities to visit the park.
“We also host organized school groups on request, with some advance notice,” Fullwood added.
For more information about Goose Creek State Park and its schedule of special programs and events, call 252-923-2191.