It’s no secret about Myrtle Beach State Park being a gem on the Grand Strand since July 1, 1936, as the first of all the state parks established, but visitors can get even more information from a video introductory documentary about the site.
Two rangers at the park, with help from park staff, as well as volunteers and campers, teamed up for “State Park Secrets,” a 20-minute video that covers the site’s 312 acres, from its milelong beach onto the pier, into the trails of a maritime forest and across the campgrounds.
Ann Malys Wilson, a longtime interpretive ranger at the park, joked about the production being “low budget,” by going around the premises with a small, point-and-shoot camera. Yet, with fellow ranger Jessica Goodrich’s work on a computer, the result has turned into quite a professional, picturesque chronicle of the park, full of valuable tidbits and tips, as well as such reminders to never take any live shells from the beach.
Wilson, known for her request to all beachgoers to always pick up three pieces of litter on the way out, especially plastic grocery bags – which in murky water, can prove deadly for sea turtles who mistake them for a jellyfish meal – shared some insight on putting “State Park Secrets” into production.
Question | How long was this presentation to give an overview of the park on rangers’ wish list, and how long from start to finish did it take to produce?
Answer | I wanted to make a video for a year or two, but never made the time. We also needed a staff member who was knowledgeable about making movies. It probably took Jessica a month or two to write it, among all her other duties. We debuted the movie with mostly still shots, and I started filming with a small point and shoot throughout the summer last year.
Q. | When did the film premiere to park visitors?
A. | We debuted it last summer, but we keep changing it, making sure all information is current and trying to improve it through new videos and ideas.
Q. | Roughly how many people/dogs/other animals contributed in some way in the result?
A. | There are three dogs, 23 people starring in the video portions, plus the other folks in the still photos or a staff video just waving hello.
Q. | Besides the video showcasing the park and all its amenities, year-round, how is this the ultimate introduction to the park, in a scenic, all-encompassing welcome to all newcomers, especially campers?
A. | Our goal was to give new visitors an introduction to our park by showcasing the park’s beauty, the rules and regulations, and ways they can have a more enjoyable time. We also hope that repeat visitors can also learn something new about the park or see it in a different light. Obviously, the video was catered more to campers than day-use visitors.
Q. | What has been the most fascinating revelation about the park through this video, or, in other words, what has been the biggest surprise reaction among viewers?
A. | Myrtle Beach State Park campers need to secure their food inside their vehicles or recreational vehicles – even during the day. Raccoons and squirrels will not hesitate to grab something off a picnic table, and raccoons have been known to unzip, or even rip through, tents to grab food, smelly soaps and other things. Campers should read bulletin boards in any campground; it will enable them to have a more enjoyable and safer time at any campground, not just Myrtle Beach State Park.
Q. | Besides reminders about preserving such a gem on the Grand Strand, and not blowing off fireworks and avoiding all the litter and wildlife disturbance those cause, what other vital requests merit repeating for every parkgoer?
A. | I hope that visitors will appreciate the park and understand that they must play a role in protecting it and making a difference. Everyone must take individual responsibility for their actions – both positive and negative.
Q. | How has turnout been for another busy summer of nature programs, and is anything new shaping for the lovely, long autumns we always have?
A. | Summer attendance has been strong. We’ll be planning our annual “big” events: “Beach Sweep,” on the third Saturday in September; “Take a Kid Fishing,” on the third Saturday in October; and “Santa on the Beach” photos, the first Saturday in December.
Q. | Might “State Park Secrets” be offered to, or added to, local access cable channel playlists?
A. | I will be honest: I hadn’t considered the possibility.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.
If you go
What: “State Park Secrets” movie, about 20 minutes long
When: 6:30 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 21
Where: Activity center, at Myrtle Beach State Park, on U.S. 17, just south of city limits
Cost: Free with admission: $5 ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15. (Also, annual state park passes are $75 or $99.)
Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily through summer.
Nature center open: 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and through Aug. 22, until 6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, and through August: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
Other nature programs: Through August, most free with admission:
▪ Tuesdays – “A Crabby Experience,” 9:30-11 a.m. on pier ($5 cash to rent trap, all for catch and release; bring or buy bait); “Sharks!” 1-2 p.m. through Aug. 18 in activity center; “Sounds of Nature,” 3-3:30 p.m. through Aug. 11 in activity center.
▪ Wednesdays – “Tracks Among Us!” 9:30-10:30 a.m. through Aug. 12 in activity center, for $5 cash per plaster track made; “Urban Sea Turtle,” 1-2 p.m. in activity center; “Tale of the Whale,” 3-3:45 p.m. through Aug. 12 in activity center; “Park Jeopardy,” 4:30-5 p.m.through Aug. 19 in nature center.
▪ Thursdays – “Seine-Sational Fun!” 9:30-10:30 a.m. from pier; “‘Leaf’ Your Mark,” 1-1:45 p.m. through Aug. 13 outside nature center, for $3 cash per artwork; “Pier Predicaments,” 3-3:30 p.m. through Aug. 20 in activity center; “Sea Creature Bingo,” 4:30-5 p.m. through Aug. 20 in nature center; “Geocaching 101,” 6:30-7 p.m. through Aug. 20 in activity center.
▪ Thursdays and Fridays – “Pier Fishing,” 8-9:30 a.m. for $5 with preregistration.
▪ Fridays – “Sea Turtle Patrol,” 6-7:30 a.m. through Aug. 7 from pier; “Litter Critters,” 9:30-11 a.m. through Aug. 7 in activity center; “Legends of the Forest,” 1-2 p.m. through Aug. 14 in activity center; “Nature’s Nasties,” 3-3:30 p.m. in activity center; and “Gator Gossip,” 4:30-5 p.m. through Aug. 21 in nature center.
▪ Saturdays – “SpongeBob – Fact or Fiction,” 9:30-10:30 a.m. through Aug. 22 in activity center; “Feeding Time,” 1-1:30 p.m,.. in nature center; “Creature Feature,” 3-3:30 p.m. through Aug. 8 in activity center; “Marble Art,” 4:30-5:30 p.m. through Aug. 22 in nature center, for $1 cash per craft.
▪ Sundays – “Batty Over Bats,” 1-1:30 p.m. in nature center; and “Hemire the Hermit Crab,” 3-3:30 p.m. in nature center, for ages 4-7.
Food drive: For “Hunger Takes No Vacation,” everyone’s asked to drop off unopened, nonperishable foods and goods, especially those left over from vacations and trips, to collection bins at any state park through Nov. 30. The most requested items are canned vegetables, canned meats, dry goods, peanut butter, beans, toiletries, diapers, detergents and plastic bags. All donations from Myrtle Beach and Huntington Beach state parks – the latter on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach (238-8755 or www.huntingtonbeachsp.com) – will be relayed to Lowcountry Food Bank, which is based in North Charleston and serves 10 counties, including Horry and Georgetown (843-747-8146 or www.lowcountryfoodbank.org).
Information: 238-0874 or www.myrtlebeachsp.com