The last two years, when we have arrived at Fort Frederica, we had to do damage control. The first year was the damage to the live oaks from Hurricane Matthew. We spent hours putting limbs into a chipper. The second year we had Hurricane Irma followed by an ice storm that knocked lots of pines and limbs down. The park hired people to take care of the downed trees, but it still took most of the season to clear everything up. This year we didn’t have a hurricane or ice storm and the maintenance guys and other staff were able to spend time spiffing up the park.
The first thing I noticed of the spiffing up was the entrance to the military road. This road was built from Fort Frederica to the southern end of the island in 1740 for defense purposes. Most of the road is gone, paved over or built on. But there is a small section of the road preserved in the park. Previously you could barely see it because of all the vegetation. This year the maintenance staff cleared both entrances to the road so it is clearly visible.
Another spiffing up project was new things in the Visitors Center. We have new archaeological artifacts from digs that occurred over the summer. The displays in the museum have been changed and rearranged. The museum in the Visitors Center has a fresh look. Ranger Adenike took over the bookstore and added lots of new products, so the displays in the bookstore change all the time too.
Tom and Ranger Michael wanted to make the blacksmith’s forge more permanent. Last year we moved it under shelter each week. Then it got left out during the shutdown and part of the canvas bellows rotted. Tom and Ranger Michael put up poles and lashed roofing supports to the poles. A tarp roof will help protect the forge from the weather. Tom added bricks around the base of the forge.
Several years ago someone ordered two reproduction swivel guns. They sat in their crates in storage until this year when Ranger Michael finally took time to install them. He dug the holes himself, put in the posts, and then Tom mounted the guns. Ideally the swivel guns would be welded in place, but that hasn’t happened yet. Tom wired them down so they don’t swing down on a child’s head.
The spiffing up helps keep the park looking fresh and cared for. It is a joy to work for a park that takes pride in its appearance.