McCORMICK, S.C. (WJBF) – Hickory Knob State Park has offered an outdoor experience for the last 50 years, since opening in 1973.
But this past week they announced they are no longer offering cabins for rental.
The park welcomes close to 300,000 visitors per year from the southeast and around the country, and have offered cabin rentals for a long time.
According to the park manager, it is time for the next step for those facilities.
“The cabin duplexes have reached an age and condition to where they’re just not economical or feasible to operate or repair any longer,” said Park Manager Rob Powell.
Powell says this is due to wear and tear the cabins have seen over the years.
From crooked stairs and chipped siding on the outside, to dirty air vents and bathroom issues on the inside, the damage is there to see.
Nevertheless, it was still a tough call to make for him.
“My own family has held its own family reunion here every two years since 2000, so it’s a personal decision for me and my family too. So it affects us,” said Powell.
The announcement was also personal for Graniteville resident Vicki Morris.
Her family has visited the park for the last 10-12 years, and she says she was disappointed when she heard the news.
“I was upset, and it’s disheartening because they do offer hotel rentals along with cabin rentals. But, for just a little bit more you can rent a cabin: which provides a home away from home,” said Morris.
As for the future of the cabins, Powell says it’s still up in the air.
“We’re gonna have some asbestos testing done. We still have to send it through the materials management office to request either a demolition or a change. This is a US Army Corps of Engineers property too, so we have to have their permission and approval to make changes like that. So that’s where we’re at right now,” said Powell.
Powell says that decision could take about a year, with funding for the project will need to be determined as well.
While the decision to remodel or demolish is still being determined, Powell says there are plenty of alternatives for living spaces.
Powell says visitors can stay for up to 2 weeks at any state park, and calls Hickory Knob a “recreation vacation destination”.
The other overnight accommodations include the 44-site campground, a 76-room lodge, and a historic house known as the Guillebeau House.
It was originally built in 1764 by Andre Guillebeau, and the house was moved to the Hickory Knob State Park Resort in 1983.
Powell also says the next move for the cabins is in addition to other planned renovations around the entire park.
According to him, it is a 5-10 year plan, and the total cost of all plans is estimated to be $70 million.
That money will come from state funding, along with any donations from the community.
To find out more information about the park, you can visit their website here.