In SC we are proud to have Congaree National Park, 22,000 acres of floodplain forest, most of it being a designated wilderness area. It is an Honest-to-God National Park. Granted it is a new one, but there are only 57 in the National Park system, and it was made official in 2003.
As I was driving to the Post Office yesterday, I caught part of a SC Public Radio show on National Monuments, and National Historic Sites, Trails, and Battlefields in SC. Now we are chocked full of Historic places. We have Battle Fields, Statues, Forts, Parks etc. around here. Heck, you can't throw a dead cat without hitting one. The gentleman being interviewed was going on about the Cowpens National Battlefield, the Eutaw Springs Battlefield, Fort Moultrie National Monument. He droned on and on and the show's host politely asked questions.
When it became clear that this gentleman was very focused on the warfare history of the state more than the national sites themselves, she politely asked, "And, we do have an official National Park." "Well, we do have that," he replied with little enthusiasm. The host continued, "We are very proud to have a National Park in the state, since there are only 57 in the country. This is different from just a monument or a battleground." "Yes, but Congaree National Park is more for those who are interested in nature - you know hiking, canoeing, being outdoors. The park shows South Carolina's primeval history." "I've been there and it is a beautiful place. Everyone should go." "Well, it is a wonderful example of the swamps we have around here." Then he changed the subject. "Of course, we cannot overlook the Fort Sumter National Monument."
Listening to him, one would think that visiting Congaree was something like a trip to Jurassic Park. I think this gentleman missed "America's Best Idea". It wasn't battle fields or monuments - it was saving and preserving the best of our country's natural beauty for generations to come - even the primeval parts. Come to think of it, especially the primeval parts, the parts of country untouched by man.