Why Congaree National Park Is Special
CNP is a very small park located in South Carolina but holds a lot of prestige and pride for the country. Before we arrived, we didn't understand from the NPS website why this park was special which is why its super important to take a trip through the Visitor Center before you walk through the park. Here are the things we learned and some photos that capture the wisdom this native jungle holds. Enjoy!
#1. It's the largest, intact forest of old growth Bottomland Hardwood in SE USA
So what does that mean? A Bottomland Hardwood forest is one that is deciduous and grows in lowland floodplains. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the Park’s floodplain to create a very unique ecosystem.
However, due to farming and agriculture over the years, these forests have been reduced dramatically. Before 1860, there were more than 52 million acres of floodplain forests across the southeastern United States. Congaree park is only about 26,000 acres which goes to show that this important ecosystem is in danger!
#2. Unusual Cypress Knees
In these types of forests, the trees adapt unusual characteristics to survive. Here at Congaree, the trees develop something called 'Cypress Knees' to keep themselves stable. Basically they are root projections from the tree that shoot at a right angle straight up into the air, vertically through the water. It is thought that this helps the trees communicate with each other and keep stability on a washed ground. It looks pretty eerie to us!
#3. Overall size of trees & height of the forest canopy
Congaree NP is home to some of the biggest Champion Trees around. Champion trees are the biggest, strongest trees of a species. The American Forests National Big Tree Program keeps a register that currently has over 750 nationwide. So the fact that Congaree has so many is pretty incredible!
So if you happen to be in the Southeastern part of the United States, we would definitely recommend a trip to Congaree National Park. Its pretty spectacular!