PINCKNEY ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Pinckney Island NWR, established December 4, 1975, was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent lawyer active in South Carolina politics from 1801 to 1815. Few traces of the island's plantation in the 1800's exist today. From 1937 to 1975, when it was donated to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Pinckney Island was privately owned and managed as a game preserve.
The 4,053 acre refuge includes Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks. Pinckney is the largest of the islands and the only one open to public use. Nearly 67 of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks. A wide variety of land types are found on Pinckney Island alone salt marsh, forestland, brushland, fallow field and freshwater ponds. In combination, these habitats support a diversity of bird and plant life. Wildlife commonly observed on Pinckney Island include waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, white-tailed deer and American alligators, with large concentrations of white ibis, herons, and egrets.
In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities. Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System. Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.
At Pinckney Island NWR, saltwater fishing is permitted year-round in the estuarine waters adjacent to the refuge freshwater fishing in refuge ponds is not allowed. The C.C. Haig Landing, located on the south-end of Pinckney Island enter off of U.S. 278, directly opposite the refuge entrance, offers a public boat ramp, kayak launch, and fishing pier.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is located near Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island
Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in Americas heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.
As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management. For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support. Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.
Pinckney Island NWR annually offers a one-day hunt for white-tailed deer every November. This is a lottery hunt with an application deadline of August 31 each year.
Make a connection to the natural world and learn about the history and current management of the refuge through self-guided interpretive exhibits located in the parking area and along the main trail.
Guided interpretive programs are offered by a couple of local groups that maintain permits with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct these activities. Trained, naturalist guides can offer visitors a more enhanced experience by providing information on the natural resources and rich history of the refuge. Tours with these groups must be arranged directly through them see contact info below.
Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges Shuttle tours for visitors with mobility issues and bike tours
Questions Email pkytoursgmail.com
Sign up https//coastalrefuges.org/page-1854757
Coastal Discovery Museum Walking tours
843 689-6767 http//www.coastaldiscovery.org
Wilderness Southeast Walking tours
912 236-8115 http//www.naturesavannah.org
The diverse habitats at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge attract an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, providing excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Over 14 miles of hiking and biking trails are maintained to provide access to all parts of the refuge.
The refuge bird list contains over 250 species. The most popular and colorful to see is the painted bunting, a common summer resident in the island's brushy habitats. During spring and fall migrations, warblers and other migratory song birds are common among the live oaks and in the shrub/scrub habitat. A variety of raptors, shorebirds, and wading birds call the refuge home year-round. Pinckney Island NWR is one of the best places in South Carolina to see breeding yellow-crowned night herons.
Mammals include white-tailed deer, red fox, and bobcat. American alligators are also round in abundance on the refuge, particularly in and around the freshwater ponds.
The refuge is located in Beaufort County, South Carolina and is 1/2 miles west of Hilton Head Island off of U.S. Highway 278. The island is bounded by Skull Creek the Intracoastal Waterway on the east, Mackay Creek on the west, and its northern tip faces Port Royal Sound. From I-95, take SC Exit 8 east towards Hilton Head Island approximately 16 miles to the entrance gate on the left.