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State park offers ghostly challenge

Goose Creek State Park is getting into the spirit of Halloween with an October challenge to find the Goose Creek Ghost.

Each week throughout October, the spooky specter will be hiding somewhere in the park, and it’s up to local ghost hunters to locate it and take a photo with it, then head back to the visitors center to answer the trivia question that can found on the laminated card attached to the ghost. The photo and answer will earn park visitors a Halloween treat.

“It’s something exciting; something for people to get out there and do and hike around the park,” said Vanessa Fischer, administrative specialist at Goose Creek State Park. “It’s something neat to do; something you can do with your kids.”

Fischer said the Goose Creek Ghost October Challenge was the idea of Ranger Nick Botello-Hernandez and an opportunity for people to get outdoors — though Goose Creek State Park has seen no shortage of visitors since COVID-19 prompted stay-at-home orders in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We have not seen a decrease in numbers, at all. I thought we might have right there at the beginning, but when they started encouraging people to get out and go to the parks, our numbers started picking back up, big time,” Fischer said.

The visitors center is open to the public during regular hours; some rooms are closed off due to limited space, but the exhibit hall remains open. While the swimming beach has been closed this summer, the campground — opened last November — has proven very popular, according to Fischer.

“We have 22 spots, and we’re already booked up the next two weekends, and the two weekends after that, we have either one or the other night booked up,” she said.

Seven of the park’s nine hiking trails remain open; past hurricane damage closed the Flatty Creek Trail and the Palmetto Boardwalk is walkable to its midway point.

The public is invited to come hunt for the ghost throughout the month of October, but with one request: “Remember our ghost is practicing social distancing too, so don’t tell anyone where it’s hiding!”

Goose Creek State Park is located at 2190 Camp Leach Road, Washington. The visitors center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.