From the beach on this seven-mile-long natural landmark, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stared carefully at the eerie landscape of fallen and broken trees.
Once majestic hardwoods and sturdy palms, the trees Wednesday were the dead victims of an encroaching sea. Fallen trees were so thick on the beach that they forced Jewell to step carefully as she toured remote Bulls Island with her staff.
On her first trip to a South Carolina wildlife refuge since becoming interior secretary earlier this year, Jewell said the scene at Bulls Island is a stark example of how rising sea levels and changing climate are affecting the planet.
Jewell’s trip to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge was part of a campaign by her department to raise awareness about the importance of funding for scenic and important natural areas across the country. The interior department has suffered so many budget cuts in recent years that wildlife refuges, parks and other areas are having a hard time providing basic services, she said.