Historically, rivers served as the highways through the inland wilderness of South Carolina. Barges were employed to transport goods to and from towns along the Congaree River and out to the Atlantic Ocean. Downstream of the Congaree River Blue Trail, the Santee Canal was South CarolinaÍs first waterway project built in 1793, designed to link Columbia and Charleston. Teams of slaves often worked the barges, transporting cotton and other goods. Use of the barges fell out of fashion in the 1830Ís, when rail transport extended into the backcountry.