Investing in the Future
Message From The Director
Back when I began my career in the South Carolina State Park Service in 1995, I did not envision the park service being what it is today. From the evolution of the physical and technological management tools, to the continual diversification of our visitor experiences, it has been amazing to witness the changes in parks over the past 25 years.
One thing however, has remained consistent throughout the years – our guiding principles of stewardship and service. Following these principles, South Carolina State Parks has endeavored to provide exceptional customer experiences while protecting and enhancing the resources entrusted to us. When someone visits a state park – whether to hike a trail, attend a program, or spend time with family - we strive to ensure their experience is exceptional. To that end, we are constantly improving amenities in cabins and campgrounds, providing Wi-Fi access for customers and constantly looking for opportunities to enhance every aspect of the visitor experience. Along with adding amenities, we are also working to improve operations by maintaining our inventory of aging structures, which includes many facilities over 80 years old.
The South Carolina State Park Service strives to maintain a high level of financial efficiency; however, to keep pace with changing consumer demands and technology needs that improve accessibility and security, as well as, the costs associated with maintaining and operating the 90,000 acres and the hundreds of structures that comprise our 47 state parks, we require a substantial and continual amount of financial investment. As part of our routine operational assessment, we regularly evaluate our charges to ensure that they remain fair and competitive. For several years now, we have recognized that our admission prices have not kept pace with the costs of comparable experiences.
So this year, we assembled a team of park professionals from around the state to review and evaluate our rates and make recommendations for adjustments. Utilizing those recommendations, we have made the decision to increase admission costs at parks around the state (effective January 1, 2020.) We recognize that these increases, while not substantial at most sites, will certainly have an impact on our state park visitors. Knowing this, we want to assure you that these decisions were not made lightly and that South Carolina State Parks will remain one of the best values around. Though the prices at many parks will increase, a family of four will still be able to spend a day at more than half the parks in the state for under $10 or have the opportunity to take advantage of some of our free state parks. In addition, our new program of park passports at $75 for “SELECT” parks and $99 for “ALL” parks (starting January 1, 2020), can give you and your family access to state park adventures all year long! Your South Carolina State Parks are committed to improving the quality of the experience we offer and to protecting these valuable natural and cultural resources. Every dollar of revenue we earn is spent on maintaining and improving South Carolina’s state parks. In other words, every dollar you spend at a state park is an investment to ensure their continuity for many generations to come. Thank you for your patronage and we hope to see you enjoying parks this holiday season and throughout the New Year.