By Paula Ogden Muse for Island Eye News
Fort Moultrie, a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument, will raise entrance fees incrementally over the next two years to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs, to enhance the visitor experience, and to bring the park into alignment with the National Park Service entrance fee schedule for parks that collect these fees. The entrance fee increase is specific to Fort Moultrie and surrounding grounds. It does not apply to visitors to Fort Sumter; visitors to Fort Sumter are not required to pay fees outside of the ferry transportation fee.
Effective January 1, 2019, the entrance fee to visit Fort Moultrie will be $7 per person. The annual park pass will cost $20. The senior and family rates that currently exist will be eliminated. Entrance fees for children 15 years and younger will remain free of charge. Also going into effect on January 1, 2019 is an extension to the length of stay from a one-day entrance pass to a five-day entrance pass; visitors who purchase entry to Fort Moultrie will be able to use their entrance pass for up to five consecutive days.
In 2020, Fort Moultrie entrance fees will increase again to $10 per person. The annual pass will cost $35. All revenue generated from entrance fees remains within the National Park Service; 80 percent of the revenue generated at Fort Moultrie benefits visitors to Fort Sumter, Liberty Square, and Fort Moultrie and 20 percent of revenue generated at Fort Moultrie supports projects at National Park Service sites that do not collect entrance fees.
The additional revenue from entrance fees at Fort Moultrie will fund the cost of caring for the interior and exterior of historic structures and provide an improved visitor experience. “Fee dollars work hard at Fort Sumter, Liberty Square, and Fort Moultrie. Funds are used to care for historic cannons, treat historic objects for museum collection, and print brochures and Junior Ranger booklets,” said Tracy Stakely, Superintendent of Fort Sumter National Monument.
National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.
Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million. In response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017, there will be a modest increase for all entrance fee-charging parks, rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed only for 17 highly-visited national parks.
Fort Moultrie has had an entrance fee since the mid-1990s. The current rate of $3 per person and $5 per family has been in effect since 2005. The park is one of 117 National Park Service sites that charges an entrance fee, the other 300 national parks will remain free to enter.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80. A Senior Annual Pass is now available for $20.
The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Some parks not yet aligned with the other parks in their group will raise fees incrementally and fully incorporate the new entrance fee schedule by January 1, 2020.
The complete fee schedule will change accordingly:
|Fort Moultrie, a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument|
|Jan 1, 2019||$7||$20|
|Jan 1, 2020||$10||$35|
Fort Moultrie is located at 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. The site is administered by the National Park Service as a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument. Fort Moultrie represents the entire history of static seacoast defense in the United States, from the American Revolution to the end of World War II. The site is open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and includes a visitor center with museum exhibits and an orientation film.
Now entering its second century, the National Park Service continues to explore new ways to help visitors connect and find their parks. For more information on park news, events and programs, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/FtSumterNPS. Visit the park website at www.nps.gov/fosu, or call 843-883-3123. You can also share your park experience with others by posting on social media with the hashtag #FindYourPark. Come find your park today!