Santee Coastal Reserve – McClellanville, South Carolina


South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Santee Coastal Reserve

The Santee Coastal Reserve, headquartered in McClellanville, was established in 1974 on 24,000 acres of land purchased by the Department of Natural Resources and donated by The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy had acquired the land from the Santee Gun Club, which was established here in 1898. The property comprising the gun club had previously been Eldorado and Ormond Hall plantations. The plantation land was originally inhabited by Sewee and Winyah Indians.

Santee Coastal Reserve McClellanville

Ben Sumrell of Awendaw, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The property that became Ormond Hall was first purchased by a free black named John Williams, who bought 400 acres in 1757. Eldorado was owned by Revolutionary War heroine Rebecca Motte, who built a brick home on the acreage in 1797. Though the structure burned in 1897, its ruins remain within the reserve. After acquiring the former rice plantations, Captain Hugh Garden of Sumter established the Santee Gun Club in 1898. Membership consisted primarily of wealthy northerners, including honorary member President Grover Cleveland. The gun club building, seen below, now serves as a meeting place and informal museum.

Santee-Coastal-Gun-Club

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Within the reserve are Cedar Island, Murphy Island, The Cape, and Washo Reserve. Cedar Island and Murphy Island are comprised of former rice fields that support a diversity of bird species and are accessible to visitors only by private boat. A component of the land which made it desirable as a gun club were its marshes and former rice fields, which make good habitat for water fowl and other wildlife. Thus, the area has been a managed wildlife reserve of sorts since the late nineteenth century. The Collins Creek Gun Club helped manage the reserve from 1974 through 1999.

Santee Gun Club Building

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Santee Coastal Reserve was designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, a recognition that attempts to promote bird conservation and biodiversity. Loggerhead turtles nest on Cedar and Murphy Islands, and alligators also thrive here in abundance. The reserve hosts a number of diverse forests, including a large natural stand of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and mixed hardwoods. It also features those mysterious South Carolina geological formations, Carolina bays.

Santee Coastal Reserve

Ben Sumrell of Awendaw, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Santee Coastal Reserve is full of recreational opportunities for visitors. Hunting, hiking, cycling, and bird-watching are all popular activities within this carefully managed-preserve. Though it is closed to the public during scheduled hunts, the Santee Coastal Reserve is otherwise open to the during daylight hours and for primitive camping overnight.

Murphy Island – Santee Coastal Reserve


Murphys Island Cape Romain

Julie G. Rowe of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Santee Coastal Reserve is part of the South Carolina Lowcountry Refuges Complex, which also includes Cape Romain, the ACE Basin, and the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.



Santee Coastal Reserve Info


Address: 220 Santee Gun Club Road, McClellanville, SC 29458
Website: https://www.dnr.sc.gov

Santee Coastal Reserve Map



Santee Coastal Reserve – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Santee Coastal Reserve, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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2 Comments about Santee Coastal Reserve

Beth Hayes says:
March 22nd, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Any good bike riding in this area?

David Burton Flint says:
January 25th, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Looking forward to visit this area this spring. Having my last two published books about this area, I'll be bringing my camera.





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