Folly Beach County Park was established in 1982 and has served over 100,000 visitors per year providing parking, beach access, rental equipment, concessions, and lifeguards for those visiting the South Carolina coast.
The park’s barrier island location presents challenges relating to the topography of the site. Erosion has been a constant on the island. In the past, Folly Beach has benefited from beach renourishment during long sustained periods of erosion. Renourishment has consisted of dredging of the ocean floor for compatible sand and depositing it on the beach, using equipment to shape and slope the beach, and different methods of creating sand dunes to help sustain the beach. The last major beach renourishment project on Folly Beach occurred in the mid-2000’s.
During 2010 Folly Beach County Park began to feel the effects of erosion once again. The sand dunes which protected the park had been damaged by high surf. This continued damage resulted in the closing of over half the parking areas in 2010 and even more in 2011.
In August, 2011, Hurricane Irene passed the South Carolina coast. Even though this powerful storm did not make landfall in the state, its effects were significant. The park was damaged so badly that it closed for the remainder of 2011. In the days after the storm, the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission was granted a 30 day emergency permit to perform actions to protect the park and restore dunes. Work was done around the clock scraping the beach and trucking in compatible sand in a race against the time and Mother Nature. Unfortunately, Folly Beach continued to receive high surf and damaging winds from other storms during the fall. This ongoing damage and loss has resulted in Folly Beach County Park’s continued closure through 2012.
Because erosion is a chronic issue on Folly Beach, CCPRC is taking steps to implement a long term stabilization plan which includes a large scale beach renourishment project and corresponding construction of a terminal groin on the western edge of the Park. We are hopeful that this beautiful park that so many have enjoyed for so many years will be available for patrons to experience once again.