Friends of Charleston’s National Parks

Our national parks have been called "America's Best Idea."

Today, there are 397 national park sites set aside by the United States of America “for the betterment and enjoyment of the people.” All Americans are co-owners of Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Charles Pinckney Site and the rest of these natural, cultural, and historic resources. For nearly 100 years, the National Park Service has been caring for and interpreting our national parks and protecting them for future generations. Millions of people visit national parks each year – exploring, learning, and recreating. Visit the National Park Service's website for an overview.

Like other citizens throughout America, Charlestonians formed a not-for-profit entity to support the national park sites we are fortunate to have in our backyard. The Fort Sumter – Fort Moultrie Trust is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support the National Park Service in its efforts to preserve, protect, and utilize for the common good Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and the Charles Pinckney Site. Like other national park friends groups, the Trust is funded by donations.

Ranger Donel with Fort Sumter visitors


A Special Message from the Park Superintendent, Tim Stone

I want to take the opportunity on behalf of the National Park Service and Fort Sumter National Monument/Charles Pinckney National Historic Site to thank the Fort Sumter - Fort Moultrie Trust for all the assistance and support they have provided to the parks and their mission throughout the years.

Without "friends" groups such as the Trust, America's National Parks could not have continued to provide the level of services to the visitors and protection of the cultural and natural resources for which the National Parks were established.

It is this partnership that speaks so strongly about our citizens and the importance of preserving and improving our nation's collective heritage and the challenge of each generation passing on to the next generation a system of national parks that reflects a stewardship that has hopefully left these parks in better condition than when we "inherited" them.

As we together move into the coming years, the challenges of protecting Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and the Charles Pinckney site will continue to call for contributions, not only from the National Park Service, but from citizens, educational institutions, businesses and other civic institutions that benefit from the heritage that helps define and symbolize the history and importance of Charleston and the region in the development of our nation.

The brick and mortar, cannons, structural integrity and the other historical fabric that define these national icons continue to deteriorate in the maritime climate, succumb to old age and suffer from greater demands placed on the operating funds provided to maintain these irreplaceable resources. We have the collective responsibility to ensure that the next generation has an opportunity to visit and understand why these places were set aside as National Parks.

The Trust took a leadership role in helping to organize and present a tremendous Fort Sumter and Charleston Civil War Sesquicentennial event that reflected well upon our community. Together, the Trust and National Park Service have supported the "Kids to the Parks" and a Ticket to Ride program that has brought hundreds of local school children to Fort Sumter, many for their first visit, or first boat ride.

We are challenged to continue to reach out to the community to make sure that history is relevant, that the lessons from the past are not forgotten, and that these events, that these treasured resources are as important to the next generation as they were to our generation, and to past generations. To quote the author Wallace Stegner, "National Parks are America's best idea" and I believe continue to embody what is great about the United States.