2017-09-08 / News

Congaree National Park

By John E. Cely
A Book Review by Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Book cover of Images of Modern America Congaree National Park Book cover of Images of Modern America Congaree National Park John Cely, a graduate of A.C. Flora High School and Clemson University, is a retired wildlife biologist who has been exploring the Congaree National Park for over 40 years. He is on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Congaree Swamp and the COWASEE Basin Task Force. I taught and coached Cely at Flora in the 1960s and have been on many nature walks with him.

Cely’s book traces the early history of South Carolina when DeSoto and his Spanish Conquistadors trekked near the Congaree Swamp; when slaves worked the nearby cotton fields of early plantations; when lumber companies harvested cypress trees along the banks of the Congaree River, when local conservationists decided to save the swamp for future generations and created the Congaree Swamp National Monument, and finally in 2003 when Cely’s beloved floodplain became a U.S. National Park.

The park is now open to the public for hiking, guided walks by park rangers, special ranger programs, fishing, butterfly and bird counts, primitive camping by permit, BUT no campfires are allowed.

Cely has included 90 pages of wonderful pictures of South Carolina’s treasured natural wonders, the Congaree River, and its adjoining swamp. Cely knows of what he writes.

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