An old John’s Island saying, “If you know, you know. If you don’t know, well you just don’t know.” In order to make a judgment call on the back beach of Capt. Sam’s Spit one must physically stand on the sand to know.
Being a native reared on the Kiawah River just two miles by water from this beach, I know it better than anyone. Now 74 years old, I have visited this beach for 70 years.
When I was young, there were few people who visited this place except for my family, who went to the beach often in those days. We went by bateaus, two bateaus, one pulling the other. Cousins, friends — it was an excursion we enjoyed many times in a year.
When younger I rode in the pulled boat. Upon growing older I piloted the front boat as no one knew the creek better. This back beach was no different in consistency than the ocean side of the beach. It is beach sand.
This back beach was a safe place for children to swim with a gentle slope and no oysters to cut one’s feet. We even had shade as there was the side of an old wooden ship that protruded from the vertical bank, sticking out enough to protect the less acclimated from the sun. This piece of ship is no longer there having given way to the instability of this place.
I am president of the Friends of the Kiawah River. Our members are concerned about the wildlife and related aspects of the proposed development, such as the risk to a terrapin nesting site and the elimination of the bank swallows who burrow into the vertical sand to raise their young.
I have escorted hundreds of people to the back beach. We go by motorboat and kayak. These guests visit the back beach where we teach them what harm the revetment of interlocking blocks of concrete would do to this beach, their beach.
The beach belongs to the public and to the reptiles, animals and birds that use it to feed and procreate.
The destruction of this beach raises other concerns. Will the dolphins use this concrete to feed on or will they abandon this shore? And if they use it as they use the natural sand over time, will this concrete cause them any harm?
There are holes in these blocks supposedly to allow spartina to grow. As a farmer, I tell you this is very unlikely to happen. The sand in the blocks would move with the tide as it does now, preventing any spartina from getting hold.
Even if planted, the tide would scour the sand and uproot the plants. There would be only exposed concrete, certainly a challenge for the dolphins, not to mention the people who would try to walk there.
The S.C. Supreme Court made the decision to protect the threatened property of KDP versus protecting the property of the public, destroying its value and the public’s right to use this property. Which is more important?
Betsy Kerrison Parkway
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