I drove all the way from Georgia to Virginia yesterday. I was afraid that I would get fatigued and not know it, so I resolved to stop at all the rest areas along the way. The first I hit was a really nice welcome center in South Carolina.
You can see in my photo that they used a lot of wood construction. This is southern pine, appropriate for this place. It is not CLT, but the beams are gluelam, a decent alternative. North Carolina has some nice rest stops, but they are normal looking. Virginia’s are done in the colonial style.
One thing you don’t have much at rest stops is shade. I would like to take a 15 minute nap to rest, but with the sun heating up the car it is not easy to do. I wish there were some bigger shade trees, or how about some solar panels. They would do double duty as shade and energy providers.
I only filled up on gas twice: once in South Carolina and then again at exist 104 in Virginia. In SC, I also bought some firecrackers for the boys. They have some really big things down there in South Carolina.
I am down in Guyton, Georgia. I learned a few things at the longleaf academy, sponsored by the Longleaf Alliance, but maybe as important was knowing that lots of people are working to understand and restore this great and diverse ecosystem at least to some of its former glory.
The pictures are from Fort Stewart, where they manage 120,000 acres with fire. The management is only in recent decades but fire was always common. They do live fire exercises. These can set off fires.
You cannot stop fire, but you can make choices about when and where. In the past, they had 700 fires a year (almost two a day). Now they are down to about 40.
The first photo is a restoration zone. Notice the no tank logo. Never saw that before. Next is looking up on pole trees. A poles is worth more than any other use for pine, but it has to be the right size, straight w/o defects. Longleaf make good poles, but not every tree qualifies. The last two pictures show longleaf savannas. They are not that old. When the army acquired the land in the 1940s, the former landowners cut off all the merchantable timber, so these forests are no more than around 60-70 years old. Nature is resilient and it gives us hope for other restorations.
I am down in Georgia for the “Longleaf Academy” to learn about longleaf pine regeneration as the name suggests. We discussed transitioning loblolly to longleaf. I plan to do this on some of our acreage.
My photos show the cheaper gas in South Carolina. If you are traveling south, fill up in Virginia and then do not do so again until you’ve reached South Carolina. The other photos are from Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest Education Center, where the conference is being held.