The Importance of the ACE Basin; Why Her Beauty is More than What Meets the Eyes (Part Two!)
Today we are going to be finishing up our blog series talking about the ACE Basin; why it’s important, why we love it, and why it is an excellent place to explore!
Welcome back to the blog, adventurers! What wonderful and exciting things have you discovered since our last blog? Did you take a day trip out to the ACE Basin or down historic US-17 just to get a view of it for yourself? While this year has put restrictions on so many things we love, and changed how we live our lives, nature has been one of the many things that has remained untouched. You can still go outside (safely) and enjoy it all for yourself. You can hop in your car and go for a drive, you can jump on your SUP and paddle through your favorite places, or kayak through undiscovered creeks and dark corners just waiting to be explored. That is the wonder and the beauty of South Carolina, have you heard it whispering to you? It’s hard for so many of our locals to enjoy the scenery, more so than our out of town visitors might think. What’s wonderful is that while we commute to and from our tasks and jobs, the beauty of the Lowcountry is waiting for us. It just silently sits and waits for us to notice. That is also the wonder and adventure of the ACE Basin. Once you discover it, you won’t ever be able to let it go. So let’s continue to learn more about this incredible piece of wonder, and work hard to protect her as much as we can.
[Why Is the ACE Basin Important – Part Two]
We left off talking about the importance and protection that the ACE gives to every living creature that has called it home or now calls it home. It helps scientists, naturalists, and adventures learn and grow. However, its protection and its sanctuary for everything and everyone is not the only thing it holds. It’s not just the vibrant ecosystem that is so important, but so is its history. Including the plantations we mentioned in our last blog, it is also home to some incredible Indian artifacts left behind by the many American Indian tribes who called this land home and inspired the name of each ACE river, waterways, and island that make up the whole of the ACE Basin. Some of these incredible artifacts include shell rings that are thousands of years old, according to the Post and Courier. It is also home to the bridge where Harriet Tubman sealed her place in history forever. In the Summer of 1863, the Combahee Raid took place. Tubman accompanied troops to help free 750 slaves right there on the Combahee River. According to the Post and Courier, she sang to the nervous freed people to help keep them calm during the raid, and the latter lead them onto freedom. She was the first woman to lead a major military operation like this, according to the SC Picture Project.
[Why We Love It & Why It’s Amazing to Explore]
What is there not to love about the ACE Basin? It has thousands of acres of land to do what we love best; explore and educate our fellow adventurers. Old rice fields and paths serve as excellent hiking areas and allow hikers to get a real close-up and personal view of all the wildlife living there, right in their own home. Of the 200,000 some protected acres 79,000 are open to the public. Also, according to the SC Picture Project, because so many migratory birds call it home for the winter, it is a fantastic place to view many rare and exotic birds to SC and it might be the only opportunity for bird watchers to see these birds. This factor also makes the ACE Basin a popular travel destination all year round, there will always be something exciting and wonderful to see.
The ACE has hundreds of miles of stunning waterways to kyack, SUP or standup paddleboarding, and boat through, and it provides every beautiful view that South Carolina is known for. You can find peaceful communities to explore, see history in person, and enjoy it by foot, on water, or by driving. The Edisto alone (The E of ACE) is the longest blackwater river in North America. You get to view every kind of land you’d imagine from forest to wetlands, to beaches and barrier islands. You have the opportunity to go boating, hiking, and biking in many of the ACE Basin’s open locations to get a view of the Lowcountry scenery, wildlife, and beauty all in the heart of its natural habitat. Thanks to our multiple tours and expeditions, you can see it and experience it all for yourself.
Edisto Beach State Park has some amazing hiking trails that feature incredible salt marshes and creeks and is home to some of the oldest palmetto trees in South Carolina. There is also a 17-mile bike trip between Bennett’s Point Road to Bear Island that will treat riders to an incredible view of all kinds of birds. Then, there is the Mead-Westvaco Edisto Nature trail that is home to cypress trees, hardwood and pine trees, and much more. The Edisto’s inky black creek and rivers create an ecosystem unique to the Lowcountry. The stunning estuary is a model of cooperative efforts to keep it safe. On our tours, through the ACE Basin, we go back in time in this tidal, freshwater creek that is only accessible by kayak. Be prepared to see wildflowers blooming along the creek banks from spring to late fall and look out for otters, alligators, deer, turkey, bald eagles, finches, and much more.
There is so much to know, love, and discover about the ACE Basin. It is so big, yet its size is what needs to be maintained and protected because, in the big picture of things, it’s not as big as we imagine it to be or need it to be. If you can, don’t only come and see it for yourself on one of our tours but find a way to give back and support it if you can. If anything, take a drive down scenic US-17 to experience and connect to all of its wonders. We look forward to seeing you very soon on your next adventure! From the whole Coastal Expeditions family, we wish you and yours a very wonderful, happy, and safe holiday season. We have been so thankful for each of you this year, and look forward to all the adventures and discoveries that 2021 will bring!