Visitor Center Renovation
In 2017, the Hunting Island State Park (HISP) manager asked Friends of Hunting Island (FOHI) to renovate the Visitor Center. A team of volunteers was formed to determine the best approach, and meetings were held with park staff, designers, and FOHI members. The team visited various parks and museums with similar educational goals.
In 2018, FOHI partnered with SCPRT (South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism), the SC Department of Transportation (DOT), and several granting agencies, including Beaufort County Accommodations Tax, to fund the renovations. Walls were repaired and re-sheet-rocked; new electrical and lighting fixtures were installed; and new hardwood flooring was laid.
Aki Kato, a Beaufort muralist known for his life-like paintings, covered the walls with murals depicting the various ecosystems and wildlife of Hunting Island: salt marsh, maritime forest, dunes, beach, and ocean. Visitors will enjoy the treasure hunt to spot all the different creatures.
Classically-trained, Hilton Head sculptor, Kelly Richard, was commissioned to create six life-like sculptures commonly seen on Hunting Island—a wood stork, a bald eagle, an osprey, a pelican, a laughing gull, and the less commonly seen adult loggerhead turtle.
Among the displays, built by Merlin Redfern, former Construction Director for FOHI, and Jack Blake, FOHI member, are the new lighthouse display in the lobby, the model of the Civilian Conservation Corps-built swing bridge, and the turtle display with dioramas of threats to sea turtles and stages of sea turtle life.
Three video monitors were added to the room. One is for longer films; a second shows the five short films about aspects of Hunting Island commissioned of Joanne Hock and Heidi Dove, award-winning filmmakers from Charlotte, NC; and a third that shows a continuous video of a morphing map of Hunting Island as it was reshaped over time.
If you would like to become a Member/Volunteer of Friends of Hunting Island, please visit Membership page.