New trail markers make Congaree National Park hikes easier

As the weather turns cooler and more hikers head out to Congaree National Park in South Carolina, they’ll find the trails easier to navigate than a few months ago.

The trees that crashed across trails during last winter’s ice storm have been cut or pushed out of the way, and a new trail marking system is almost completely installed, according to Superintendent Tracy Stakely.

Clearing fallen trees from trails takes longer than you might expect because much of the park is designated as national wilderness. That means mechanized equipment such as chain saws can’t be used, and cutting the trees down on the trails after the ice storm with hand saws took months.

Meanwhile, park law enforcement officers have joined volunteers the past few months in plotting the locations and then installing new trail markers. The plastic, reflective markers are nailed to trees at adult eye level. The markers, numbered to represent the various trails in the park, replace color-coded blazes painted on trees. The markers with a 4 on them, for instance, replace red blazes on the Oakridge Trail.

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