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South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks

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USA Parks
South Carolina
Olde English Region
Sand Hills State Forest
Sand Hills State Forest Little critter © Karol Livote
Sand Hills State Forest Over looking water © Karol Livote
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Since its aquisition, Sand Hills has been used as a demonstration area for forest management. During the early years, the objective was to restore the land, to allow it to heal from erosion and misuse, and to protect it from the wildfires that burned annually.

Beginning in the early 1960's, with the lands healing, the Forestry Commission undertook an active forest management program. In recent years, attention has been given to restore native longleaf pines.

An active prescribed burning program reduces fuel accumulation, perpetuates the longleaf pines, and stimulates the production of seed bearing plants for wildlife food.

The Forest is a self-sustaining branch of the Forestry Commission operating entirely on receipts from the forest. In addition, Darlington and Chesterfield counties receive 25% of the Forest's receipts. This 25% is divided between the two counties based on the percent of the Forest in each county.
History of the Area
Part of a unique ecosystem, the Sand Hills State Forest is located between the piedmont and coastal plain of South Carolina in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties. The region is characterized by deep sands with generally arid conditions. It consists of 46,000 acres of infertile sand deposited by a prehistoric sea.

During the years 1935-1939 the federal government purchased this area from many local landowners as a relief measure under the Resettlement Administration. These landowners were resettled on more fertile land elsewhere.

The land was managed as a state forest by the S.C. Forestry Commission under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior from 1939 until 1991 when title was transferred to the state.

Because wildfires, improper logging and poor farming practices had almost eliminated timber production, an intensive reforestation project was initiated. In conjunction with the reforestation effort, a wildlife management program was started to improve habitat. As a result of such efforts, the once barren sand hills now support a large inventory of timber and a variety of game and non-game species.
1. Sugarloaf Mountain Campground offers primitive camping with picnic tables, fire rings and a vault toilet.
2. Primitive roadside camping is allowed throughout the forest for self:contained campers or tents.
3. The Patrick Fire Tower provides free dispersed campsites without amenities in remote areas of the forest.
4. Hiking trails offer backcountry camping opportunities for those seeking solitude and wilderness experience.

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Sand Hills State Forest is located near Cheraw, Hartsville and Monroe

1. Sugarloaf Mountain Trail: This 2-mile trail offers a moderate hike with views of the surrounding forest and wildlife.

2. Sand Hills Loop Trail: A 3-mile loop, this easy-to-moderate trail winds through pine forests and sand hills terrain.

3. Wire Road Hiking Trail: Spanning approximately 4 miles, it features diverse plant life along an old wire road route in the heartland of South Carolina's longleaf pine ecosystem.

4. Beaver Pond Nature Trail: An interpretive nature walk that is about half-a mile-long featuring beaver ponds amidst mixed hardwoods and pines.

5. Mill Creek Park Trails: These trails cover around five miles within Mill Creek County Park offering scenic views over creekside habitats.

6. Weymouth Woods Track: Approximately one mile long; showcases unique flora including rare orchids growing among sandy soils characteristic to region's ecoregion.

7. Cheraw State Park Lake Juniper Nature Trail: Roughly four miles round trip showcasing lake vistas amid loblolly pines.

8. Patrick Fire Tower Access Route: About three-quarters-of-a-mile leading up to historic fire tower providing panoramic view across state forest landscape.

9. Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve Pathway: Two-and-half-miles winding past geological formations like inverted pyramid rock formation known as "Peachtree Rock".

10. Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve Walkway: Three-quarter-of-a-Mile track highlighting Stevens creek gorge area rich in botanical diversity.

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From Columbia, South Carolina:
1. Start on US:76 W/US-378 W.
2. Continue onto I:20 E towards Florence for about 60 miles.
3. Take exit 131 for SC:341 toward Bethune/Camden.

From Charleston, South Carolina:
1. Begin by heading northwest on King St toward George St in downtown Charleston.
2. Turn right at the third cross street onto Calhoun Street and continue to James Island Expressway West ramp.
3. Merge with U.S Route 17 North via the ramp to Interstate Highway (I)526 East/Airport/Mount Pleasant.

For both routes:
4. Once you reach Camden area follow signs directing towards Sand Hills State Forest.

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South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks