State parks featured in coffee table book

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By Chris Sardelli

After several days on the road, the Beautiful Places van arrived in Lancaster County on Friday.

Adorned with color photographs of state park scenes from throughout South Carolina, the van is on tour to publicize a new book published by the S.C. State Park Service. Titled “Beautiful Places: The Timeless Beauty of South Carolina State Parks,” the 140-page hardcover coffee table book features photos and history from parks across the state, including Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster County and Landsford Canal State Park in Chester and Lancaster counties.

The van stopped at the two parks Friday. It is making stops at all of South Carolina’s 47 state parks.

Gwen Davenport, who handles marketing for the state parks service, and retail manager Kenneth Reed are traveling in the van together, holding mini-celebrations at each park they visit. They are distributing copies of the book for each park to sell, and are blogging about the van tour on the S.C. State Parks Facebook page.

During their stops, they have been giving out crayons and coloring pages for children, and there have been trivia contests and prizes for adults.

Written by Chad Prosser, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the “Beautiful Places” book is an initiative of the Beautiful Places Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for South Carolina state parks. Photographer Jon O. Holloway spent more than a year taking pictures for the book.

The cost is $34.95 per copy and all proceeds from the book will go towards state park projects. The book will be available for sale at all state parks and  online at www.beautifulplacesalliance.org. It will be available in bookstores starting in September.

Laura Ledford, interpretive ranger at Andrew Jackson State Park, expects the book will raise awareness about state parks.

“I hope people will learn more about South Carolina state parks and all the cultural and natural resources we protect,” Ledford said.

For details about the book or the van tour, call Ledford at 285-3344. If you are a Facebook member, you can track the progress of the van tour at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/SC.State.Parks?ref=nf

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416