Federal Agencies with Trail Responsibilities
National Park Service
South Carolina hosts several national monuments, historic sites, military parks, or battlefields. Most preserve and/or interpret sites from the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. These offer opportunities to explore the history of the nation through historic buildings, documentaries, displays, tours, and trails.
Congaree Swamp National Monument preserves the largest expanse (22,200 acres)of old-growth floodplain forest in America. To walk here is to walk among giants: trees of record sizes and some of the tallest trees east of the Mississippi. This outstanding example of biological diversity and record-size trees offers a canoe trail, interpretive walks, two boardwalks, and approximately 25 miles of hiking trails. A free overnight camping permit is required.
Kings Mountain National
Kings Mountain National Military Park in York and Cherokee Counties is the most visited National Park Service unit in the State. The Park preserves King's Mountain, a rocky, wooded, outlying spur of the Blue Ridge, rising some 60 feet above the plain around it, where a band of "over-mountain men" defeated a Loyalists force of 1,100 men in 1780. Exhibits at the visitor center help interpret the battle. A 1.5-mile walking trail leads from the visitors center to the chief features of the battlefield. There are also trails that link to Kings Mountain State Park.
Cowpens National Battlefield
Cowpens National Battlefield preserves the field where on January 17, 1781, Daniel Morgan led his army of tough Continentals and backwoods militia to a brilliant victory over Banastre Tarleton's larger force of British regulars. Cowpens offers interpretive facilities, a visitors center with exhibits, a tour road, and a walking trail through the battlefield.
Ninety-Six National Historic Site
Ninety-Six National Historic Site preserves the ruins of a British star fort and the patriot's siege lines from one of the great dramas of the Revolution. There's a mile-long walking trail that takes in the main features of the Park and a 1.5 mile loop trail that gives the visitor access to some of the most historical and least publicized areas of the Park.
United States Forest Service
Francis Marion and Sumter
From the foothills of the panoramic Blue Ridge Mountains to the shores of the boundless Atlantic Ocean, the more than 600,000 acres of the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests spread across South Carolina offering outstanding outdoor opportunities to an array of nature lovers.
Home to the National Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, the Forests provide a variety of outdoor activities, including more than 370 miles of hiking, equestrian, mountain bike, motorcycle, ATV, nature, and canoe trails, 60 recreation sites, and five Wilderness areas. Created in 1936, the forests boast one of the longest hunting seasons and is home to some of the most diverse populations of animals and plants in the country. Check with individual Districts for special restrictions such as use of wilderness, fires, and off-highway vehicles.
Sumter National Forest
Andrew Pickens Ranger District
The 79,000 acre Andrew Pickens District is located in the northwestern part of the State, an area of high plateaus and mountains, waterfalls, and other scenic attractions. European settlement began in this area in the late 1700s and the mountains served as a stronghold for the Cherokee Indians before they moved out in 1792. Recreational opportunities are plentiful and the area is popular for hiking (52 miles of trails), camping, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing.
Long Cane Ranger District
The Long Cane Ranger District is located in the western part of the State and is composed of 119,000 acres. The recreation opportunities are abundant in that there are hiking, motorcycle/ATV, equestrian, canoe, and mountain biking trails. The District trails meander through some of the most scenic areas in the South such as Turkey and Stevens Creek that showcase mountain laurel and bald cypress.
Enoree Ranger District
The Enoree Ranger District totals approximately 160,000 acres. The surrounding forest environment provides an opportunity for many recreational experiences such as boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, wildlife and plant observation, camping, and picnicking.
Francis Marion National Forest
Witherbee Ranger District
The 250,000 acre Francis Marion National Forest boasts a variety of opportunities from canoeing and kayaking to motorcycling and hunting. This coastal plain area of South Carolina offers visitors a wealth of experiences. For instance, hikers may encounter endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers; canoeists may drift by sleepy alligators; and horseback riders may walk up on a flock of wild turkeys.
Sewee Visitor & Environmental Education Center
The Sewee Visitor Center showcases the unique heritage and natural history of South Carolina's Lowcountry. Jointly operated by the Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, the 9,000 square foot facility exhibits hands-on interpretive displays on the unique and valuable ecosystems of the forest and refuge.
South Carolina is home to six of the over 500 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. This system, encompassing nearly 90 million acres, is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for wildlife. The refuge system is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior.
ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
This is the States newest wildlife refuge and was acquired as part of the overall conservation project for the lower basin of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers. The refuge includes 11,019 acres located in Charleston, Colleton, and Beaufort counties. Recreational activities include fishing in the tidal creeks and freshwater streams, a limited hunting program for waterfowl and deer, wildlife observation, photography, nature study, and walking access to miles of old roads (no bicycles allowed).
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in Chesterfield County, consists of approximately 46,000 acres of land and water, offering wildlife observation towers, photography blinds, interpretive display, hiking trails, and picnicking. The one-mile Woodland Pond Trail offers an excellent opportunity to observe songbirds and pond life. The two-mile Tate's Trail carries visitors through most of the major habitat types on the refuge.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (4,000 acres) is in Beaufort County and offers 14 miles of gravel roads and grassy dikes for walking, bicycling, and nature observation.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
The 25,608 acre Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is in Jasper County, offering a four mile nature drive, wildlife opportunities, and a trail.
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge (Bulls Island)
Cape Romain in Charleston County stretches for 22 miles along the coast encompassing 35,000 acres, offering barrier island and salt marsh wilderness experiences. Bulls Island lies nearly three miles off the mainland and is reached by boat from Moores Landing. A private ferry service (803-881-4582) takes visitors to Bulls Island on regularly scheduled days. A two-mile national recreation trail is located on Bulls Island. This six-mile long, two-mile wide island has 16 miles of roads open for hiking.
Santee National Wildlife Refuge
The 15,000 acre refuge lies within the Atlantic Coast plain in Clarendon County. The four management units of the refuge stretch over 16 miles along the northern side of Santee Cooper's Lake Marion. The visitor center offers many interesting displays for public viewing. Trails for hiking, wildlife observation, and photography are available. Boating, fishing, and hunting are also permitted.
August 25, 2008
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