A boardwalk winds through the landscape of Congaree National Park.
Congaree National Park A boardwalk winds through the landscape of Congaree National Park. © Cara Chancellor/TNC

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Congaree National Park Hike and Lunch

South Carolina

Get an insider’s view of Congaree National Park with a man who’s spent 40 years exploring its secrets! Join special guest and Congaree expert John Cely and The Nature Conservancy’s coastal and Midlands conservation director, David Bishop, Ph.D., for an easy, two-mile hike through Congaree National Park. 

We’ll gather at the Visitor Center at 10 a.m. and watch a short video on the history of the park. Then, with John as our guide, we’ll venture into the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the park, carrying nutrients that nourish national- and state-champion bald cypress trees. After the hike, we will gather at the covered picnic area for lunch, provided by TNC.

What to wear/bring: Comfortable walking shoes, layers, water bottle, hat and walking stick (optional).

Registration is required, no later than Dec. 6, 2019.

Register today!

John Cely Biography

John is a native of Columbia and graduated from A.C. Flora High School in 1965; Clemson University, 1969 (B.S., Biology); and 1980 (M.S., Wildlife Biology). He was employed for 26 years as a wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) where he specialized in bird studies and surveys for various species including the red-cockaded woodpecker and swallow-tailed kite.

After retiring from DNR he served for five years as the Land Protection Director for the Congaree Land Trust where he worked with private landowners to establish conservation easements on working farms and forests, wetlands, and other significant rural properties in central South Carolina.

Since being fully retired in 2012 John has enjoyed travel, camping, hiking, and volunteering at the Congaree National Park. He currently serves on the COWASEE Basin Focus Area task force and is a board member of the Friends of Congaree Swamp.

He is author of COWASEE Basin, The Green Heart of South Carolina and authored a chapter, “Big Woods” about Congaree National Park in State of the Heart, South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love.  He recently finished a book, Congaree National Park, for Arcadia Press, released in September 2017. His favorite quote is by conservationist John Muir: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

Join Us!

Register before December 6 to ensure your spot for this event.