Congaree National Park staff are planning wildlife management operations in backcountry areas on several weekdays from October 11 through October 27, 2022. Several backcountry areas will be closed to anglers, paddlers, hikers and campers during these windows, The entire park will remain open on weekends throughout October.
The goal of the planned wildlife management operations is to address the damaging effects of wild pigs (also known as feral hogs) park resources. “Each October trees – especially oaks – drop abundant food on the ground that attracts wildlife in great numbers,” said Dr. David Shelley, head of the park’s Resource Stewardship and Science program. “This presents a special opportunity to survey the wildlife and address invasive species including wild pigs.” Wild pigs are a non-native invasive species that severely impacts land and water resources. Their rooting behavior is extremely destructive to habitats, soils, water quality, plants, and other wildlife. They also reproduce quickly and can harbor disease. According to the US Department of Agriculture, wild pigs are annually responsible for over $1.5 billion of damage across the nation. “It is crucial that we use every available opportunity to reduce the damage that feral hogs cause park resources,” Dr. Shelley continued. “We appreciate public understanding and support for this work.”
Partial closures of backcountry areas at Congaree National Park will be in effect Tuesday through Thursday on the following dates:
– October 11-13
– October 18-20
– October 25-27
Closure details include the following:
- Hikers: The Oakridge Trail, River Trail, and Kingsnake Trail will be closed to hikers on the dates listed above. The boardwalk, Sims Trail, Firefly Trail, Longleaf Trail, Bluff Trail, and Weston Lake Trail will remain open.
- Camping: No backcountry camping permits will be issued for the dates listed above, or for the Monday night of each week (i.e., 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24). Longleaf and Bluff campground operations remain unaffected by these closures.
- Anglers: Backcountry fishing holes will be closed to anglers during these windows. Anglers may access Cedar Creek via the obvious fishing paths at the Bannister Bridge canoe launch but must stay within ¼ mile downstream of the canoe launch. Anglers may also access Cedar Creek downstream from the South Cedar Creek canoe launch so long as they stay within 100 feet of the south bank. Normal, north-bank fishing access from Dawson’s Cabin gate is unaffected by these closures.
- Paddlers: The Cedar Creek canoe trail will be closed to paddlers between Bannister Bridge canoe launch and South Cedar Creek canoe launch during these windows. Paddlers may still paddle downstream from the South Cedar Creek canoe launch so long as they stay within 100 feet of the south bank.
- All hiking trails, paddling trails, and fishing holes will be fully open to visitors from Friday to Monday throughout October. Backcountry camping permits will continue to be issued for Friday through Sunday nights as well.
For more information, please call (803) 776-4396 or email us at [email protected]. For more information on the impacts of wild pigs, visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/operational-activities/feral-swine