Ascent to Port Royal Island High Point-Entrance Gate on 2011-03-12

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
Date:Saturday, March 12, 2011
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Port Royal Island High Point - Entrance Gate
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:35 ft / 10 m
    Remaining Elevation:10 ft / 3 m (100% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Beaufort County has 6 candidate high point areas.
1) Beaufort COHP - 3 areas at Pritchardville per its TR (successfully visited)
2) North Beaufort COHP - 2 areas at Yemassee per its TR (successfully visited)
3) Port Royal Island High Point - 1 area inside the Laurel Bay Naval Housing Area USMC per this TR. ... Prior permission is required, and if you are a foreign national like the author its a much more involved process.

I visited this area a number of times all as per this TR, edited after each visit.

VISIT #1 DATED 2011-03-12 ..... denied access
Rose and I drove onto the Island from the west side, crossing over the Broad River Bridge on hwy 170 to a left turn on Parris Island Road (follow sign 21N, just past Walmart). Drove 1.2 miles to a left on 21N then 1.4 miles to a left on SC116 (Laurel Bay Road). We continued 3.4 miles to the guarded Entrance Gate at the "Laurel Bay Naval Housing Facilities".
Entrance was denied, the friendly guard on duty told us that access is only for army personnel or affiliated personnel.
We didn't get prior permission, the plan was to "deal with visitor control" on site (as noted in Michael Schwartz TR of 2008). The guard told us that there is no Visitor's Welcome Center on site, he suggested we go to the recruiting center on Parris Island.
We didn't see the connection between recruiting and permission to enter the facilities so we decided to leave it for another day.

VISIT #2 DATED 2015-01-09 ..... again denied access.
We are on our Winter Trip 2015 and today I was denied access for the 2nd time.
I started to inquire about access to the Laurel Bay Community back in Mid-December, 2014 and after getting referred to different departments I was finally directed to, what I thought was the right person, Mr Odell Joiner. He asked me to email him all of the necessary information, which I did on Dec 23, 2014.
I didn't hear back from him during the holidays so on Jan 4, 2015 I send him a reminder which he answered right away. The last 2 pieces of correspondence that I received read:

RE: Permission to enter the Laurel Bay Community
Cc: Cochran Capt Jordan R
Good Morning,
Being that you are not representing a company, please forward your request via our Public Affairs Officer (Capt Cochran). He is cc'd in this email.
Very Respectfully,
Mr. Odell Joiner
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Security Manager
Comm: 843 228 7090;7559
Mobile: 843 476 3610
Email: -------------"

I am the Public Affairs Officer for the Air Station and the Laurel Bay community. Please give me a call when you have a chance.
Capt. Jordan Cochran
Public Affairs Officer
Commercial: (843) 228-6123
Mobile: (843) 321-6658 ------------"

I called Captain Cochran and agreed to 13h30 hour visit. His assigned escort, Sarah Cherry, met me at the gate, and when my identification (drivers license/passport) showed that I was a Foreign National that raised a red flag .... authorization would take days. I omitted to note in my request that I was Canadian ???? everyone was apologetic ???? the security (Merchant and Lowrey) had to enter me in their data base as being denied entry .... besides the usual information, I had to give them my SIN, plus I was photographed.
I felt a bit like a criminal about the SIN, photo thing.
I talked to Captain Cochran and he was very nice, apologizing for the situation, said to call him if/when I come back (later confirmed with an email).
Very disappointed.

VISIT #3 DATED 2020-02-11 ..... again no access, did not enter this visit to my account.
We are on our Winter Trip 2020, came to this area primarily to spend/enjoy a few on the beautiful Beaufort Atlantic Coast, overnighting at the Hunting Island State Park Campground (expensive).
We called Captain Cochran only to find out that he is no longer at this job. We talked to his replacement's assistant Kevin Buss at ph# (843) 228-6123 (didn't get the name of the replacement). I told him my story and he promised to look into it.
There was screw-up with my email address, so I didn't get a bunch of forms he said he sent me. The whole process would take days so I let it be. Also I wasn't sure if he found the so called security clearance that they put me through last time.
NB: On 2020-07-12 Tom Layton sent me this message, "The county GIS specialist told me there is not a 45-foot contour at Laurel Bay. If that is the only one you’re lacking, I think you can claim Beaufort County." I guess I'm claiming SC.

Summary Total Data
    Route:drive up to entrance gate
    Trailhead:SC116  -9999 ft / -3047 m

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