Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina

Webpage: National Wildlife Refuge

General Description: This 4053 acre refuge includes Pinckney, Corn, Big and Little Harry, and Buzzard Islands.  Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, however other land types including forests, grasslands, and freshwater ponds are found on Pinckney Island.  This diversity of land types provides excellent habitat for a wide variety of plant and animals.  The islands were purchased by Charles Pinckney in 1736 who was the father of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.  General Pinckney was a commander during the Revolutionary War, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, and two ran for President.  The family developed the land into a plantation to produce Sea Island Cotton with the labor of nearly 400 slaves.  The plantation thrived until it was occupied by the Union during the Civil War.  After the war the plantation was largely abandoned.  In 1937 it was purchased by James and Ellen Bruce to use as a hunting preserve.  Trees were planted (mostly slash pine) and freshwater ponds were created to attract wildlife.  In 1975, the islands were donated to USFWS to be managed as a nature and forest preserve.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) The hiking trails are actually the old road system around Pinckney Island.  While not as nice as a hiking trail, the roads are in good shape and provide an easy walking environment.

TrailCanopy

2) I suppose November is not the best time of the year to see much in the way of wildlife, however, it is also nice taking a 2-4 mile hike in the cool air and not be molested by insects.

SaltMarsh FreshwaterPond WinterFlower

3) Most of the pine trees are slash pine, but there are a few good size longleaf pine scattered in the center of the island.  An interpretive sign along the trail indicates the management policy of the refuge is to slowly convert the “dry” upland parts of the island to longleaf.

PineForest

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