In early June the SALCC Socioeconomic Adaptation Coordinator, Janet Cakir, and I had the opportunity to go to Mt. Pleasant, SC to attend the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission Meeting. I’m fortunate enough to be able to help Janet out with some of her Cultural Resource work and was very excited to be able to attend a meeting of a group where protecting cultural resources is so vitally important. The meeting was held at the Mt. Pleasant Waterworks Building and the room was filled – there were about twenty commissioners present with close to fifty, or more, members of the public eager to hear what they had to say. This meeting wasn’t a decision-making meeting, but one in which the commission presented their new Management Plan to the public, talked about what they thought was good and not so good from the plan, gave us an overview of different sections of the plan and opened the floor for public comment.
Listening to each commissioner speak as turns were taken around the tables in the front of the room, I was reminded quite a bit of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, how we function and why we exist. I heard comments about the Management Plan like;“…it is specific enough that it outlines a path, but it remains flexible,” “…[it] came about through public input and public involvement,” and “…a starting point for future research and scholarship.” One leader in the community, speaking in her native Gullah dialect, said that the Plan “…celebrates the environment of the Gullah Geechee people,” and she went on to say that she treasures the portion of this plan that concerns land.
When looking at cultural resources it’s obvious that there are many natural resources that have a strong cultural tie as well. The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a good place to find examples of this. It is exciting for me to think of the future and how we, as part of the SALCC, can work together to help conserve all of these resources.
To find out more about the Gullah Geechee Cultural Corridor see the web site. Later in the summer a link to the Management Plan will be up.