President Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite president. Without him and the help of nature activists, there would be no National Park Services. Could one imagine not preserving the emerald colored water and tall mountain peaks at Glacier National Park? Or not being able to see the beauty and strength of Mount Rainier? Or not being able to celebrate our independence by taking a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty? I sure cannot imagine the beauty and history of this country not being protected and am glad that others saw the importance of protecting this land.
There are many categories of protected land within the National Park Service: National Parks, National Monuments, National Lakeshores, National Battlefields, and National Wildlife Refuges, just to name a few. South Carolina is home to seven park sites and eight National Wildlife Refuges. Brad and I happen to be in an area where we can visit most of these refuges and one sunny, midweek day, we decided to go to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Pinckney Island Refuge is located right before the bridge to Hilton Head. This refuge has an interesting history as it was once a plantation inhabited by humans, making it unlike other protected land. An estimated 67 per cent of this refuge is water: freshwater ponds, salt marshes, and tidal creeks. The other percentage is wooded and dense forest. This means, the refuge not only has over fourteen miles of biking and walking trails but is home to many species of birds, deer, bobcats, and of course, alligators. There is even a small beach within the refuge.
We decided to walk the trails instead of biking since we didn’t know what to expect. We followed one main walking trail. Several small trails can be found off that. We first walked to Ibis Pond where we met a native South Carolinian who talked about the birds in the area, where alligators like to hide, and about a hidden graveyard within in the refuge. He was so happy to be riding his bike and sharing his knowledge of the refuge to first time visitors. He spent only a few minutes with us as he was off to find the hidden graveyard, leaving Brad and I to watch out for alligators.
After walking around Ibis Pond (no alligators were seen), we came across a buttery fly garden, which surprisingly, in the winter didn’t have any activity. We decided to cut our trip short, knowing we wouldn’t be able to see the whole refuge without the aid of two wheels. One thing we noticed is that this refuge doesn’t have any amenities on the trails. One things it does have is plenty of viewing stations at various spots along the trails. Overall, it was a nice day to be outside and explore a new area.
Next time, our plan is to take lunch and our bikes so we can explore more, check out the White Point beach, and find the hidden graveyard. Since Brad is great at Goggle searches, he has his work cut out for him to find out more about this hidden graveyard that isn’t on the refuge’s map.