South Carolina’s junior senator has filed a bill that would make the site where the Civil War began the nation’s newest national park.
Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor is already operated by the National Park Service (NPS) as a national monument, but U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s proposal would upgrade the site to the country’s 60th overall national park. The Republican actually introduced the resolution in June, but it received little attention until The Associated Press noted it this weekend.
Fort Sumter was famously where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, when South Carolina Confederate militia fired on the U.S. troops stationed inside. No one was killed in the battle, but the Union surrendered the post.
Scott believes the upgrade is more than a bureaucratic move. He says it would raise the profile of the island’s Civil War-era fort in Charleston Harbor. NPS data showed more than 840,000 people visited the park last year.
The designation would also cover Fort Moultrie on nearby Sullivan’s Island, where American soldiers blocked a British invasion fleet during the Revolutionary War. Forts Moultrie and Sumter are currently part of the same national monument. Under the legislation, the national park designation would also cover the historic Sullivan’s Island Lifesaving Station and lighthouse that are less than a mile from Fort Moultrie.
Scott’s bill remains in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.