Mount Pleasant Magazine May/June 2018

42 | | feature S urrounded by serene marshlands, unique barrier islands and enchanting forests, it’s no surprise that Charleston County is home to dozens of public parks and nature centers. Come summertime, everyone from toddlers and young adults to parents and seniors frequent these versatile outdoor spaces. East of the Cooper, two major organizations are tasked with maintaining parks in addition to organizing events and programs – the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission and the town of Mount Pleasant Recreation Department. While these organizations function separately, their missions are closely related: Grant local residents easy access to nature and to community activities. The Mount Pleasant Recreation Department focuses on town-wide events, and the county parks department spearheads a more expansive program. “We’re responsible for providing a county-wide park system on a larger scope than organizations like municipal recreation departments and public service districts,” explained Sarah Reynolds, CCPRC’s publicity coordinator. “We’re in charge of organizing outdoor recreation, environmental education, providing beach access for the community and things of that nature.” After its inception in 1968, the role of the CCPRC began to take shape as additional land was purchased and developed. Technically, the department’s first project was the Kiawah Beachwalker Park in 1976, but it wasn’t until 1979 that Palmetto Islands County in Mount Pleasant was opened as the first facility built from scratch. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the CCPRC operates 14 public parks, maintains 19 boat landings and encompasses about 11,000 acres of property. “Our mission has always been to improve the quality of life by offering a diverse system of parks, facilities, programs and services,” said Reynolds. “But in the last few years, we’ve really been able to expand our offerings to Photo courtesy of the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. By Samantha Connors Engage With Nature Visit Our Community Parks this Summer