You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge
South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
South Carolina
Thoroughbred Region
Ernest Rand Memorial State Forest
Walk on the Beach ©
Relax ©
Availability Search
The Ernest Rand Memorial State Forest is a serene and captivating natural haven, encompassing over 2,000 acres of lush woodland. This magnificent forest is dotted with towering pine and hardwood trees, creating a stunning backdrop for adventurous hikers and nature enthusiasts. With its diverse flora and fauna, including rare plant species and a plethora of wildlife, the forest offers a rich and immersive experience for visitors keen on exploring its numerous trails and observing its scenic beauty. Additionally, the forest boasts a tranquil picnic area, perfect for some relaxation amidst the breathtaking surroundings. Whether it's an invigorating hike, a peaceful picnic, or a chance to immerse in nature's wonders, the Ernest Rand Memorial State Forest promises an unforgettable experience for those seeking solace and connection with the great outdoors.
History of the Area
The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, formerly known as the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, is located in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina along the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers. The refuge covers approximately 11,815 acres of diverse habitats, including marshlands, coastal forests, and abandoned rice fields. The reserve was established in 1990 to protect and manage the unique natural resources found in the ACE Basin. The ACE Basin is a larger region consisting of more than 350,000 acres of land, swamps, and waterways. It is considered one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the East Coast.

Before becoming a wildlife refuge, the area now known as the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge has a rich history. The region was predominately utilized for agriculture, particularly rice cultivation, during the 18th and 19th centuries. Benefitting from the fertile marshlands and favorable climate for rice production, many plantation owners settled in the area, primarily along the rivers.

However, the demand for rice waned in the late 19th century, leading to the abandonment and neglect of the plantations. The landscape slowly transitioned from rice fields to overgrown forests and marshes. In the early 20th century, the timber industry, primarily the harvest of cypress, gained prominence in the region, resulting in further changes to the landscape.

Efforts to preserve and protect the natural resources of the ACE Basin began in the 1980s. Environmentalists, conservationists, and local communities recognized the ecological significance of the area and its importance for various species of plants and animals, including the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and numerous migratory birds. Collaborative initiatives were established to protect the ACE Basin from increasing pressures due to urbanization and development.

In 1990, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated the ACE Basin as a research reserve. It was later renamed in honor of Senator Ernest F. Hollings, who played a crucial role in the conservation efforts of the ACE Basin.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
Search for a vacation rental

Ernest Rand Memorial State Forest is located near Aiken, Barnwell and Augusta

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is located in South Carolina, approximately 25 miles south of Charleston and 60 miles north of Savannah, Georgia. To reach the refuge from Interstate-95 (I-95), take Exit 53 onto U.S. Highway 17 towards Jacksonboro/Beaufort.

Continue on US-17 for about 6 miles until you reach a traffic light at SC Route Hwy162/Old Jacksonboro Road intersection; turn right here to stay on US-17 S.

Follow this road for another approximate distance of around six more miles before turning left onto Bennett's Point Rd/South Carolina Secondary Road S15-36.

Drive along Bennett's Point Road for roughly four-and-a-half-miles until you see signs indicating the entrance to Ernest Rand Memorial State Forest on your right-hand side.

state route ranger badge
South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks