Congaree National Park rangers have begun an extensive project to re-mark over twenty miles of trails in the park.
The project will result in a safer experience for visitors.
Park trails are currently identified by colors corresponding to trail names. The new trail marking project will replace color coding with numbers associated with each trail. Hikers will find brown tabs with reflective stickers marking trees along Congaree's trails when the project is complete.
Each trail will be assigned a number, making it easy for hikers to follow the trail and report their location if they need assistance. Park maps and brochures will be updated to reflect the numbering system, but there will be a period of overlap between the two systems until all publications are changed.
It will be important for hikers to take a map and a true compass on any adventure into the Congaree wilderness and doing so is particularly important during this time of transition between trail marking styles.
"With the dynamic and changing nature of the floodplain it is important to ensure our trails are safe and adequately marked. At Congaree, the tread and route of many of our trails are often obscured from the effects of flooding or downed vegetation. The addition of the new trail markers and the accompanying trail clearing work we are undertaking this Summer will provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for trail users and help reduce incidents of visitors getting off trail and potentially disoriented in the wilderness," said Superintendent Tracy Stakely.
Park rangers are seeking volunteers to assist with the trail marking project. Training will be provided. For information about volunteer opportunities contact Park Ranger Lindsay Compton, 803-647-3965 or Lindsay_Compton@nps.gov.
Congaree National Park protects the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States, with approximately 21,710 acres (82 percent of the park's total acreage) as designated wilderness.
The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, established the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands.
Visitors can engage in non-motorized recreation in wilderness areas, including hiking, paddling, fishing, and camping.