Summer 2022 Newsletter

This first issue of the Newsletter is dedicated to Paula McIlvain who worked tirelessly through the development of our website, troubleshooting, testing, and communicating with the web designer. She continues to serve as the website administrator, posting updates, providing support and continuous improvement.  We wouldn’t have a website without her!! You’ll see Paula at Bald Rock on a cleanup day because she is devoted to restoration!  Be sure to give her a big thank you!

We hope you are having a great summer! Here’s what’s happening at Friends of Bald Rock.

Searching for Sustainable Solutions: Clemson Study

On July 7, 2022, Robert H. Boyles, Jr., Director of SCDNR, signed the Bald Rock Heritage Preserve Visioning and Master Plan Study Agreement with Clemson University. The public purpose of this agreement is to advance the mission of the SCDNR to “restore the granitic dome community and enhance the public experience on Bald Rock Heritage Preserve.”

With SCDNR’s authorization and funding of the agreement, the Clemson Landscape Architecture Department’s Collaborative Studio graduate student and faculty advisors are ready to get to work studying the preserve.  Their work will guide the SCDNR through a site inventory and design process. The goal is to develop a long-term Vision, Site Master Plan, and long-term management strategy for the Preserve.

Friends of Bald Rock has learned a great deal about the Preserve over the past year working with the SCDNR. We have made tremendous progress in cleaning graffiti and picking up litter. This agreement represents the first step toward sustainable solutions for the many issues that challenge SCDNR’s mission. Our long-term goal is always to enhance the safe public use of the Preserve while protecting its natural resources.

The Principle Investigator is Paul Russell, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture Program, Clemson University. Dr. Russell and two additional faculty members, Matt Nicollette and Lara Browning; third year LA graduate student, Annie Steele; DNR Biologist and Manager of the preserve, Austen Attaway; and Friends of Bald Rock President, Susan Jordan make up the team. The team will meet periodically over the next twelve months to review progress. The Kickoff Meeting was held at Clemson on July 19, 2022. The final report is due in August 2023.

Beat the Heat Special Ops Litter Pickups

Yes, we got the memo about how hard it is to recruit volunteers in the summer.  Just to challenge that idea and stay ahead of the litter at Bald Rock, we decided to try some “special ops.”

What happened? Some special people showed up to pick up litter! Yes, we were surprised, too! These dedicated volunteers were obviously early risers, and seriously into litter, whatever the temperature! Thanks to all of you who came out in the cool of the day from 8a-9a.

So far this summer, 29 volunteers have picked up 360 lbs. of litter on the days after Memorial Day weekend, Father’s Day weekend, and the July 4th weekend.  Great job!! We have 10 volunteers already signed up for August 8th. Always happy to have more.

The final special ops litter pickup will be held on Tuesday, September 6 after the Labor Day weekend from 8a-9a. You can register to volunteer on the Events page of the website friendsofbaldrock.com.  Hope to see you on the rock!

News from The Upstate SC Native Plant Society

Lucky for SCDNR and us, our friends at Upstate SC Native Plant Society are volunteering at Bald Rock Heritage Preserve this year. One of their organization’s goals is to support efforts by government agencies to protect habitats and endangered species. To this end, they are conducting a comprehensive botanical survey of the preserve. This is especially exciting because it has never been done before!

The group gave Austen Attaway a choice of location for the study. We are very grateful she quickly chose Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. We look forward to reading their final report sometime next year.

The SC Native Plant Society is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation and protection of native plant communities in South Carolina by providing programs and activities including field trips, plant rescues, native plant sales, monthly educational lectures, and educational journals. Dan Whitten is the Chair of the Upstate chapter.

Check out their website and say hello if you see them at Bald Rock.

Future Cleaning Events

Scheduling is underway for Fall 2022 and Winter 2023. We will coordinate clean up days and rain dates for pressure washing and litter pickups with SCDNR, River Falls Fire Department, and the pressure washing team. When the schedule is set, we will post it on the website, where we hope you will volunteer on the Events page. Hopefully, scheduling several months in advance will be helpful to all.

We are always on the lookout for more pressure washing volunteers who own or can borrow a machine, bring gas and 200’ of garden hose.  So far, we have worked with a 4-hose or a 6-hose splitter on the main fire hose supplying water. Now, Asst. Chief Brad McCarson at River Falls Fire Department says they have a splitter that will accommodate 10 garden hoses. Yes, you read that correctly. Ten garden hoses attached at one time! Sounds like an Olympic event.

What does that mean? We want to recruit 10 volunteers, and preferable 12 machines (2 for backups) on any given cleanup day, PLUS another 10 volunteers to relieve the first group periodically throughout the day. Just imagine the area we could clean with 10 machines working continuously. We’ll need backup pumpers too, to refill the main truck, and probably a hardy lunch.  For those willing to pressure wash but don’t have experience, we happily provide free on-the-job training.

Safety first! We love this rock, but we love our volunteers more! We encourage lots of breaks, water, snacks, etc. as often as you need them. We accomplish what we can safely and we know there will be many more opportunities to work on removing those decades of paint.

Tell us about your pressure washing skills, machine, Olympic aspirations, suggestions, questions, etc. at [email protected]

Friends of Bald Rock featured in latest edition of Jocassee Journal

Ever wonder how Friends of Bald Rock got started? All your questions are answered here. Check out the article on pp. 10-11 at https://www.dnr.sc.gov/managed/wild/jocassee/newsletters/jocvol23no1.pdf

The SC Heritage Trust Program

Did you know that SCDNR’s Heritage Trust Program was the first such program in the US? Created in 1976, the program was “designed to stem the tide of habitat loss by protecting critical natural habitats and significant cultural sites.” The SC legislation directed SCDNR, in coordination with other state agencies, to organize these sites into a system of heritage preserves to be protected for the benefit of present and future generations. We are very grateful that the Bald Rock property was acquired by the state and designated a heritage preserve in 2001. We have an enormous opportunity right now to reimagine the Preserve “protected for the benefit of present and future generations.”

For more information, see “Managed Lands” on the SCDNR website.

CONTACT US

We would love to hear from you. Let us know how you would like to get involved in restoring Bald Rock Heritage Preserve! Contact us at [email protected]

Editor, Susan Jordan

7-27-22