Congaree Swamp designated national park

HOPKINS, S.C. -- Congaree National Park, 30 minutes from Columbia, S.C., has been named the U.S.'s 68th national park and the first in the Palmetto State.

Congaree features 22,000 acres of knobby-kneed cypress, bottomlands, a loblolly pine 16 feet around, canoe trails, primitive campsites and 163 species of water beetles.

The park welcomed 13,000 visitors last year. National park status should raise its visibility, increasing the number to about 200,000 a year, according to park officials.

The Harry Hampton Visitor Center at the park is open year-round from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the park, call (803) 776-4396 or visit www.nps.gov/cosw.

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