Jul 25

“Gateway to the Edisto” Park Update 2022

Your generous support of the Edisto Blackwater Boogie event last year helped make the much needed improvements to Givhans Ferry State Park!

Check out this update from the park Ranger below!

“Gateway to the Edisto”

 Phase I Replace Chain-link Fence

Phase II ADA Riverwalk with Viewing Areas

Phase III River Overlook with Interpretive Signage


The population between Summerville and the I-95 corridor is poised for explosive growth in the next decade. The addition of two world-class automobile makers, Volvo and Mercedes Benz, have altered the Lowcountry landscape. Suppliers for both companies will most likely move to the area and add thousands of jobs by 2030. New homes and businesses will follow. There is no doubt Dorchester County will be at the heart of this tremendous expansion.


As the population of the Lowcountry continues to grow, the need to protect our cultural and natural resources is imperative. Providing green space and quality outdoor recreational opportunities must be part of any long-term strategy to achieve sustainable development.


Since 1937, Givhans Ferry State Park has welcomed visitors to the banks of the Edisto River to enjoy countless activities in a spectacular natural environment. For more than 80 years, our park staff has placed a strong emphasis on resource stewardship and education.


The River House sits on the high banks of the Edisto and highlights the extraordinary craftsmanship of the skilled men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It has served many functions, including meeting facility, wedding venue, welcome center, and educational center. Today, as the latter two, The River House is the heart of the park; it is the front porch of the Edisto River. We want to make exterior landscaping improvements and construct features that will minimize visitor constraints to leisure. Our long term goal is to strengthen park programming through recreational and educational offerings. Passively drawing more visitors in to easily and comfortably explore, learn about the park, the Edisto River, and recreational opportunities will strengthen the pursuit to leisure, and support our mission towards accomplishing this goal.


With this proposal, we would like to use funds raised to construct the following:


Phase I Replace Chain Link Fence

To create a more appealing vista, in conjunction with our current Viewshed Management Plan, we would like to replace the existing chain-link fence that lines the high bluffs of the river throughout the park. The chain-link fence will be replaced with a natural looking parkitecture style fence, more representative of the craftmanship that the CCC employed in their original design for the park.


Phase II ADA Riverwalk with Viewing Areas

The Riverwalk component of this proposal would essentially serve to welcome visitors to the park and the Edisto River. It would allow people of any ability to experience an Edisto River basin habitat, a preview of everything the park has to offer in an encouraging and comfortable setting. We would like to construct a hard-pack natural surface ADA trail that would begin at a newly updated parking area near the wood line to the far right of the River House. The trail will take visitors along the river’s edge atop the high bluffs, down to the proposed Overlook, and finally down to the existing beach and river access. Along the trail on the high bluffs, we would like to construct two covered wooden swing viewing areas from which visitors could rest, relax and enjoy the scenery.


Phase III River Overlook with Interpretive Signage

Finally we would construct an overlook extending from the River House over the bluffs, so visitors can have a spectacular view of America’s longest free-flowing black water river. This would provide an opportunity for guests to view the protected limestone bluffs and sensitive plants in a sustainable manner. The overlook would also serve as an interpretive area for park rangers to lead educational programs. The addition of educational signage interpreting the cultural and natural resources in the area would allow for passive interpretation to all visitors enjoying the overlook.


This project would physically exemplify the mission of Givhans Ferry State Park, “Connecting people to the cultural history and ecosystem of the Edisto River Basin and the South Carolina Lowcountry.” The lasting impact of this welcoming scenic vista would allow visitors of all abilities to learn about and enjoy the natural beauty of this special resource, considered one of the seven natural wonders of South Carolina. Givhans Ferry State Park, Dorchester County’s very own, “Gateway to the Edisto.”