All Parks Start with a Champion

Harry Hampton With the Bald Cypress Tree That Was Later Named for Him.

In the 1950s, Harry Hampton, a writer and editor for The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, began a one-man campaign to preserve the nearby Congaree River floodplain. The area is the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States.  Hampton used a large Bald cypress tree as an example of what would be lost if the area was not preserved.  After two decades of advocacy by Hampton and other private citizens, Congaree Swamp National Monument was established in 1976. The park's designation changed to Congaree National Park in 2003. An international biosphere reserve and federally-designated wilderness area, Congaree National Park serves as a classroom and laboratory for visitors, students, and scientists from around the world.  The park’s visitor center and the Bald cypress tree he used to promote the park were named for Harry Hampton. 

Congaree National Park Harry Hampton Photographs