News Release

Congaree National Park Beginning to Increase Recreational Access

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Date: May 22, 2020
Contact: Greg Cunningham

Hopkins, SC – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Congaree National Park is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning on Thursday, May 28, 2020, Congaree National Park will reopen day-use access (sunrise to sunset) to the following areas:

  • The park’s backcountry, which includes South Cedar Creek Canoe Landing, Bannister Bridge Canoe Landing, the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail, Kingsnake Trail, Bates Ferry Trail, Fork Swamp Trail, Oakridge Trail, and River Trail.
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
  • The park’s frontcountry, which includes campgrounds, Harry Hampton Visitor Center, the Boardwalk, Bluff Trail, Longleaf Trail, Sims Trail and Weston Lake Loop Trail.
“As we begin this phase of the park’s reopening, we encourage visitors to take advantage of all that the park’s backcountry has to offer, including fishing, paddling and hiking opportunities,” says Superintendent K. Lynn Berry. She adds, “If you need assistance in planning your backcountry adventure, please email our park ranger staff at e-mail us. They are available seven days a week to assist you in your park visit.”

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Congaree National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders (visit for S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control - DHEC), practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

Last updated: May 22, 2020

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