Celebrating Congaree

Congaree National Park is ready to take the usually busy month of October to a new level with the extra attention brought on by Ken Burns' new documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."

In addition to daily guided hikes, the park's October schedule features Swampfest, an evening lecture, a photography workshop and the second weekend of the Congaree Campfire Chronicles. Also, the history of the state's only national park will be the subject of a "Carolina Stories" documentary on ETV at 10 p.m. Oct. 1.

Here are the other special events coming up (go to for more details):

Swampfest: Guided walks, birds of prey programs and a primitive tools demonstration are among the activities at the park's annual fall festival on Oct. 3.

Lectures: Buz Cloot of the University of South Carolina will talk about the importance of bacteria in Tom's Creek as part of the park's fall lecture series on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Another lecture on the role of groundwater in creating huge trees will be Nov. 4.

Workshop: Carolinas' Nature Photographers Association members David Hartfield and Dan Wuori will help budding photographers discover the best techniques for capturing the flora and fauna of the park. The Oct. 10 workshop is limited to 40 people, so call ahead to reserve a spot at (803) 776-4396.

Congaree Campfire Chronicles: Volunteer actors will set up at several spots along the boardwalk and trails to represent groups who have lived in or played a role in the park's riverbottom forest. Small groups will leave with guides every 15 minutes from the visitors center 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 23-24.

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