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Follow Kelly On Her Trip Through Congaree National Park


This entry in the National Park Foundation's "Your Parks Video Challenge" has Kelly leading us on a tour of Congaree National Park. And it has a pretty dang good soundtrack, if you like bluegrass!

Kelly, aka "QTPrincess2785," highlights the beauty and history of Congaree, while also bringing her own flair to the video, which features “pop up” video bubbles with fun facts about the park. For instance, did you know Congaree is home to 75 different species of trees? Or, this “pop up,” which was left on the cutting room floor: Many of the trees in Congaree are “the same ones that Francis Marion, aka the Swamp Fox, hid in during the Revolutionary War!”

There’s still time to tell your own story about why Your Parks matter to you, by making your own Your Parks video. Participants have the chance to win big with prizes including an all-expense-paid trip to a national park of your choice, outdoor wear from Merrell, and national park passes. To join in the fun and share your own park story, submit an original video of your summer’s national park adventure by visiting, and you could be one of 10 winning participants. Your video should explain what America’s National Parks mean to you -- how do they inspire you? Why are they important? Why should we protect them?

The video that showcases the most inspiring, meaningful and thoughtful story and/or experience will win an exclusive top-of-the line prize package from the National Park Foundation and Olympus. Your Parks complements the Share the Experience photo contest, sponsored by Olympus, seeking this year’s best photo of the National Parks.

Fans are invited to submit videos, up to two minutes in length, between now and September 14th. Participants must be 13 years of age or older to enter. The online audience will then vote for their favorite at until September 22nd. Together fans voting online, along with the National Park Foundation and Olympus, will crown one winning video and 10 runners-up to be announced at the end of September.

The grand prize winner will receive an exclusive, all-expense paid trip for two to the national park of his/her choice, the recently released Olympus PEN camera kit, and a Federal Recreation Lands Pass – good for free entry into any one of the 391 National Park Service units. Runners-up will also receive a Federal Recreation Lands Pass as well as an Olympus Stylus Tough-8000 digital camera. In addition, winners will receive gift cards for outdoor footwear and apparel from Merrell.


Nicely done.

Hey, does anybody know where the river rocks were located in the video. I have not seen them in the park. Are they at the end of the river trail?

Here's the deal, Anon. If you travel up the Congaree River to the Fall Line (close to downtown Columbia), you'll see exposed granite boulders like those in the video. You won't see rocks like that at the surface in Congaree National Park, however, because the Congaree River, the park, and the floodplain forest it protects are all perched on an ancient alluvial terrace. The bedrock there is buried under a deep layer of sediments. When the main river is low at Congaree National Park, what you see is sandbars, not rounded and polished boulders.

Hello Bob, My name is Brad Benter and I work as an Interpretive Ranger in Yosemite National Park. I am currently holding out in my house in El Portal, diligently watching the fire fighters saving our town and fighting this crazy "prescribed" turned "wild" fire. It has kept me on edge, but allowed me to catch up on my to do list, including emailing you.
You see, I once was a student of yours in Columbia, SC (USC) in your National Parks Course. I have been thinking of you and wanting to THANK YOU for the passion and devotion that you have for our parks.
Through your course, my life was touched and and my path changed. I worked in Yellowstone NP immediately following the semester I took your course and dreamed of visiting and working in Yosemite too. Well, it was 1998 when I first worked in Yosemite and then after leaving and using my degree in Education for a few years, I returned to work for the Yosemite Institute as an Outdoor Educator. Well, I continue my career in Outdoor Education now as a Ranger Naturalist in my third year. I have thought about the influence your course had on my past fifteen years and it is extraordinary. I have not only spent many years working in the national parks, the rest of my vacation time has been spent exploring and experiencing them as well.
Again, thank you! I wouldn't be here without your teachings and inspiration. You really did make a difference in my life, B-rad Benter

Dang it, Brad, now Bob's gonna ask for a raise! (Fortunately, we don't pay him now, so there's nothing to raise.)

Thanks for the kind remarks, Brad. It's great to hear from you, and very gratifying to know that you've found such a soul-satisfying career. Rangering isn't for everybody, but you're one of the good ones, and the Park Service and the visitors you interact with are much the better for it. I hope our paths will intersect again one of these days so we can sit down and have a beer or three and catch up on happenings. I've made tentative plans to revisit Yosemite next year, so who knows? BTW, don't pay any attention to Kurt. He just likes to talk to hear the wind blow.

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