About the Great Pee Dee Heritage Preserve:
The South Carolina Heritage Trust Program, within the Wildlife Diversity Section of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was started in 1976. South Carolina was the first state to develop a program to inventory and protect the unique cultural and natural elements, sites and features that otherwise might be lost as the state grew through time. Currently 60 preserves totaling 76,000 acres are protected statewide via a system of heritage preserves. Twelve of these sites were acquired to protect cultural resources like 12,000 year old Indian campsites, coastal shell rings from 4500-3000 years ago, Civil War Forts and early 19th century pottery kilns. Often when we protect a natural element on a preserve we also protect cultural sites at the same time or visa versa. The Great Pee Dee Heritage Preserve is a good example of this.
The Great Pee Dee River Heritage Preserve is a 2725 acre preserve in Darlington County. The preserve protects an extensive bottom land hardwood swamp, an area identified by ornithologists as a priority large area protection project. Open daily from dawn to dusk for passive recreational pursuits, the preserve also has scheduled hunting seasons and is operated as a DNR-Wildlife Management Area (WMA).The preserve includes more than seven miles of river frontage and provides habitats for four threatened avian (bird) species.
An important aspect of each of the preserves is a strong local stewardship committee. The local stewards watch over and protect a preserve. Stewardship committees help foster pride and respect for our collective American Heritage. The archaeological work being conducted on the Great Pee Dee Heritage Preserve would never had happened if it were not for the generosity of a particular stewardship committee member. To join a stewardship committee contact the Heritage Trust Program’s Cultural Preserve Manager -Brian Long at 803-734-3916 or by E-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202.
Even with strong stewardship committees, vandalism still occurs. Vandalism on a state heritage preserve is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, or up to six months in prison, or both, for each offense, depending on the vandalism’s monetary damage. Anyone with information on these cases or any other vandalism on the Great Pee Dee Heritage Preserve or any S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) property is asked to call 1- 800-922-5431. The number is monitored 24 hours seven days a week. A reward is offered, and you do not have to reveal your identity. Enjoy the preserve and support Heritage Trust in it’s mission to expand the system of heritage preserves statewide.