I’m going to keep with the Poinsett theme by detailing Poinsett State Park in Sumter County. It sits amid Manchester State Forest. On your drive there make note of the forest on the east side of the road. It’s the Poinsett Electronic Combat Range and used for military maneuvers.
It’s a nice drive into the park. My first stop was up, onto a hill, one you don’t really expect in this part of the midlands. From the picnic hut is a grand view of the surrounding countryside. From there I drove down back to the main road and to the lake, a mill pond. The dam was initially built to impound water for rice cultivation and then the pond was used to power a mill, parts of which are still evident. One can go fishing and boating on the lake.
After visiting the dam I took the Coquina Trail. The name comes from the coquina stone that can be found throughout the park. This stone is a limestone with shows fossil seashells, evidence that once, long ago, this used to be ocean.
Besides this trail there are the Laurel Group Trail, Hill Top Trail and the Scout Trail. One can also access the Palmetto Trail. I made sure to walk on that aways. I’ve only walked short stretches of the Palmetto Trail, but one day I hope to do a long stretch.
Poinsett State Park is known for it’s interesting mix of flora and terrain. It combines sandhills with the Piedmont with the coastal plains and mixes in a bit of Blue Ride mountains. I didn’t expect to see such hills as I found at the picnic shelter.
The park is named after Joel Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico. His grave is north of here in Statesburg. He was also an amateur botanist. There are cabins one can rent here and a campground. The county of Sumter donated 1,000 acres. It was opened 1936. It was the first of the SC parks to be built by the CCC and many structures they built are still used.
How to Get There:
North of US76/US378 on SC261, past Wedgefield.
What’s Near by:
Sumter (the town)
Manchester State Forest
Congaree National Park