A new report shows that the amount of money visitors spent at South Carolina’s six National Park Service units decreased very slightly in 2013, as the number of visitors to those parks declined from a year earlier.
Visitors to all NPS sites in South Carolina spent nearly $79.7 million in 2013, according to new data released by the National Park Service on Friday. That was down from $80.3 million in 2012. The finances correlate with a 3.25 percent decrease in visitors during that same span to 1.5 million in 2013.
The decline matches a nationwide trend in 2013, which the Park Service blamed at least partially on the October 2012 federal government shutdown and weather-related closures due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.
The report by economists with the U.S. Geological Survey found that two units in South Carolina bucked that trend. Congaree National Park in Richland County saw an increase of roughly 10,000 visitors to 120,341 total recreation visits in 2013. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant also had nearly 3,000 more visits than 2012.
But every other unit reported decreases in total visits — and slightly less spending from visitors as a result. Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston lost more than 27,000 visitors from 2012 to 2013 (although it is still, by far, the most-visited unit in South Carolina). Kings Mountain National Military Park near Blacksburg saw a seven percent decrease in its visitors during that span.