Environmentalists Support the Congaree Swamp Park, 1975


Document Description:

Congaree National Park covers 11,000 acres of a floodplane of the Congaree River and protests the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. The park was authorized as a unit of the National Park Service on Octover 18, 1976. A timber company, run by the Beidler family, had owned the land for years. Fortunately, a large grassroots campaign, driven by organizations like the Sierra Club and the Congaree Swamp Education and Research Association, spent three years bombarding the state and federal governments with information and letters. The uniqueness of the land, along with the habitat it provided, led many people to protest its potential destruction. The 1970s saw many similar campaigns across the country, as people became more aware of the effects of unchecked development on previously undistrubed habitats.


"Environmentalists' Support for the Congaree Swamp," 1975 WIS 75-140, Newsfilm Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


WIS 75-140

Environmentalists’ Support for the Congaree Swamp, Columbia, SC, September 20, 1975

Environmentalist: It’s really a unique place.  It has been my honor and my privilege to walk through lots of forests all around this country, from Alaska down to Florida. And I’m afraid in my experience I have seen nothing else quite like it.  The other thing that struck me last night flying in here, that made me frankly feel quite sad, was that when you fly over the dark green forest with that big river going through it right in your backyard here, you realize that’s all there is anymore.  The role of the dead river bed down here is a long one, in this part of the world, the Cooper, the Wateree, the Santee, the Pee Dee.  They’re all gone.  They're underwater or cut down right now.  Congaree is really all you have left.  So one of the things I was going to say today was that I feel that just as other people across the country who also love their land have fought for the redwoods, and the North Cascades and the Everglades, and made them parks for all the people, I think it’s the duty of the people of South Carolina to make as a gift to the rest of the nation their finest place too, which is Congaree.  There is no place else like it in this nation and probably on this earth.  And I hope you can save it for all of us because it is a very beautiful spot.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 5-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the social, economic, and political events that influenced the United States during the Cold War era.

Indicator 5-5.1 Summarize the impact of cultural developments in the United States following World War II, including the significance of pop culture and mass media and the population shifts to the suburbs.

Standard 7-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the significant political, economic, geographic, scientific, technological, and cultural changes and advancements that took place throughout the world from the beginning of the twentieth cetnury to the present day.

Indicator 7-7.7 Summarize the dangers to the natural environoment that are posed by population growth, urbaization, and industrialization.


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