Volume I - No. 1
NEW LANDS FOR STATE PARKS
By Herbert Evison,
That period when the CCC was expanding and when funds were sufficient to build barracks whenever they were needed was also the period during which state park acreage increased, most rapidly. Though the 1935-6-7 period was not unmarked by acquisitions of new parks and extensions of older ones, the expansion process did slow down, and still is substantially slower than during that earlier period.
The present CCC program and that which will be in effect by October 1 reflect not only a considerable degree of acquisition activity during the past year but also, I believe, a much more soundly based acquisition program, when any exists at all. Of the new camps established, or to be established, four----those at Moundville in Alabama, at Fort Mountain in Georgia, Seashore in Virginia, and Florida Caverns----are on areas that have been extended considerably during the last year and which thus offer much improved opportunities for sound development. The other new State Park camps are on new properties which are all of high quality. None is limited in interest to its own immediate locality as was the case of a number of parks the states obtained early in the program.
Georgia stands out as the State which is building up park acreage without in any way directly conditioning it on CCC work. Though the Region Office has little detailed information about their newest parks, we do know that they include the Kolomoke Mounds State Park of 1,037 acres, in the southwest portion of the state---an archeological site of exceptional interest; Sittons Gulch of 1,520 acres, in the northwestern corner of the state, reported to contain among other scenic features, some spectacular waterfalls; and the Wayne County Natural Resource Reservation of 1,000 acres in the Southeast.
South Carolina has come through with two valuable new areas which they expect will, for some time to come, mark the limit of their acquisition program.. One of these is Hunting Island, six thousand acres of island upland and marsh land to the rear of it. There is nearly five miles of beach on the island, on which separate developments will be undertaken for whites and negroes. The marsh land is a nesting ground for thousands of birds. The other is Greenwood State Park of nearly a thousand acres on the Buzzards Roost reservoir in the middle of the largest hitherto "unparked" area of the state. Here also there will be developed both white and negro facilities.
Mississippi, whose system has hitherto lacked any Gulf frontage, has acquired Magnolia State Park, of 220 acres, just outside of Ocean Springs, through gift from Jackson County. This new park, which it is hoped may ultimately be considerably enlarged, has a pleasant stretch of beach frontage, considerable placid bayou and four distinct upland sections which bear an exceptionally fine mature growth of forest and shrub.
Louisiana has two outstanding new parks and it looks as though the state would go ahead with a well balanced program of park acquisition based on the findings of the Park, Parkway and Recreation-Area Study. Tchefuncte, formerly known as Fontainebleau, after the name of the estate of the prominent de Marigny family formerly situated upon it, has more than mile of frontage on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and combines scenic, historical, and wildlife values in unusual degree. Incidentally, the state is supplying all funds required for materials in connection with CCC work in this park.
Chicot lies in the south central portion of the state. It contains nearly 6,000 acres and offers a terrain of quite surprising relief in an otherwise flat country. It bears also an exceptional stand of southern hardwood forest, of which I remember particularly certain gigantic magnolias. A low dam across Bayou Chicot will create a lake of nearly 3,000 acres which should, if properly handled, ultimately offer some of the finest fishing in the South.
In October a CCC camp will return to Seashore State Park, near Virginia Beach, Virginia. Resumption of CCC work is the direct result of the action of the 1938 legislation in appropriating $158,000 for the purchase of 2,300 acres of land to be added to the 1,000 acres presented to the state in 1933. Few parks were more awkwardly bounded than the original park; the added lands extend the Chesapeake Bay frontage considerably and block up the marvellous hinterland - a botanist's paradise - in a way that will permit a much more satisfactory development than has been possible heretofore.
A new camp has already been established at Fort Mountain, in Georgia, where work ceased two years ago. By addition of some 1,700 acres, this park now offers another fine opportunity for a full development. It ranks among the most spectacular in the south. Mr. Henry Pickering, of Chatsworth, is chiefly responsible for the success attained in rounding out this fine property.
Dr. Walter Jones, State Geologist of Alabama, godfather of the Moundville area, and money-rustler extraordinary, is responsible for a valuable addition to the area which not only offers much of archeological value but also will permit a picnic-area development satisfactorily separated from the museum and from the principal mounds.
One of the most photographed persons at the joint. Blue and Gray Reunion held July 1-3 at Gettysburg National Military Park was himself a photographer. He is William H. Jackson, 95 years old, who looks 70 and talks 30. Remarkable in many ways, his career is of peculiar interest to the Service because he was the first "picture man" of America's great West. He made the first photographs of the Yellowstone country besides many hundreds of valuable negatives of Indian life. His picture of the Mount of the Holy Cross, made in 1876, remains today the standard view of that peak.
Mr. Jackson is shown above in front of his tent in the Union veterans camp pitched for the 75th anniversary observance. He maintains a lively professional interest in photography as may be observed by his scrutiny of a modern camera.
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