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South Regional Reports

Field Trip Notes From Congaree National Park

This naturalistic forest reserve contains untouched floodplains and enormous trees

The swampland forests of Conagree include a walking path for visitors that snakes through the water. Photo: Andy Pulte

Thirty minutes from Columbia, South Carolina—and not that far out of the way for anyone traveling to the beach on the Atlantic Coast—Congaree National Park is waiting to be explored. Many people have not heard of this national park, which didn’t receive its status until 2003.

Congaree has a lot going for it: a 26,000-acre forest that’s an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area, and a National Natural Landmark. Additionally, approximately 17,000 acres of the park are designated as official Wilderness Area.

Giants of the Southeast

champion sweetgum tree
The park contains a champion sweetgum tree—the largest known specimen of sweetgum tree in the United States. Photo: Cbaile19 via Wikimedia Commons

For those who love big trees, this is one of the best places to see them in the South. Congaree holds the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Southeastern United States. Much…

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