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Donnelley WMA – Green Pond, South Carolina


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The Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in Colleton County‘s rural Green Pond community comprises 8,048 acres of protected land within the ACE Basin. Now owned and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the refuge was established with the help of several other conservation and wildlife groups, including Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and The Nature Conservancy. The area is named for conservationist and Chicago printing magnate Gaylord Donnelley, who owned nearby Ashepoo Plantation and was instrumental in spearheading the ACE Basin conservation project along with his wife, Dorothy.

Donnelley WMA Path

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The refuge was originally named Mary’s Island Reserve in honor of Mary’s Island Plantation, a former estate that once stood on the site. In fact, Mary’s Island Reserve was its name when it was purchased by Ducks Unlimited and other contributing partners in 1990. In 2005 the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources became the sole owner of the land, and it is now known as the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area.

Old Rice Trunk at Donnelley WMA

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Not only is wildlife managed and protected on the property, but cultural history is also preserved. A rice trunk, as seen above, controls irrigation of the rice fields that were once harvested within the plantation’s vast acreage. Today these former rice fields continue to be maintained in order to protect the valuable ecosystems and natural communities that have evolved here.

Boynton Home – Donnelley WMA


Boynton Home at Donnelley

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Boynton House, pictured here, is a Victorian-style farmhouse built sometime around the beginning of the twentieth century. The Boyntons raised cattle on this portion of the property, and a 2.2-mile-long nature trail within the preserve is named for the family.

Boynton House Interior

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Located near the parking lot at Donnelley, the home stands as a prominent landmark for visitors. Sadly, its doors and windows have been left open to the elements, and the home is deteriorating. Numerous Boyntons have lived in Colleton County over the years; however, we know little about the branch that resided at Donnelley. If you can help us learn more about the family or their home, please let us know.

Donnelley WMA House

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

What little we do know comes from “Historic Resources of the Lowcountry,” written by Cynthia C. Jenkins for the Lowcountry Council of Government in 1979:

This one-story, ell-shaped frame house is built on a low brick pier foundation. The roof is gabled with chimneys on the exterior ends. Twelve turned posts with turned balusters support the shed roof-style porch which runs across the facade and one side of the five-bay-wide house. A pediment set into the gable has imbricated shingles and a diamond-shaped window.

Donnelley Home Interior

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Richardson Marker – Donnelley WMA


Donnelley Oak

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Several tracts within the refuge were owned by different families throughout the years. Beneath the live oak tree (Quercus virginiana) seen above lies a commemorative marker in honor of Patricia Anne Richardson, whose family owned this land from 1979 through 1990.

Old Fields Cemetery


Old Fields Cemetery

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

A small cluster of burial markers sits in front of the lodge at Donnelley WMA. Referred to as the Old Fields Cemetery due to the Fields family graves enclosed within the iron fence, the site originally was part of Ebenezer Baptist Church. The church stood where the lodge at Donnelley stands today. A few decades ago it was relocated about a quarter of a mile away on Bennett’s Point Road and bricked over; however, the final resting place of Billy Fields, a farmer who lived here at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, remains at his former property. Fields died in the 1920s.

Exploring Nature – Donnelley WMA


Donnelley Raccoon

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The variety of natural communities found within Donnelley include wetlands, mixed hardwood forests, cypress swamps (seen below), managed rice fields, and stands of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is open to the public and offers hiking, bicycling, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, and hunting opportunities for visitors. Deer and dove hunts are scheduled by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Donnelley WMA Cypress Swamp

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society. Birds ranging from Mississippi kites to bald eagles and even sandhill cranes can be found in different habitats throughout the refuge. Important Bird Areas are identified as vital bird habitat sites based on scientific criteria.

Donnelley Spoonbills

Val Miller of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The WMA is populated with around 200 alligators, and during the warm weather months dozens at a time can be seen sunning and swimming in the wetlands of the refuge. Because of the protections afforded the alligators at Donnelley WMA, at times a congregation of around 100 can be seen during the spring. Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is open during daylight hours every day except designated hunt days.

Donnelley WMA Alligator

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In addition to the nature trail named for the Boyntons, the refuge boasts two other nature trails as well as dirt roads for hiking or bicycle riding. It also offers a driving tour.

Donnelley Road

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

More Photos of Donnelley WMA


Donnelley Road

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley Wildlife Area

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley Alligator

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley WMA Green Pond Spanish Moss

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley WMA Swamp Sunrise

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Donnelley WMA Entrance Road Oaks

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cottonmouth

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

American Alligator

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cottonmouth

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

American Alligator Detail

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent


Donnelley WMA Info


Address: 585 Donnelley Drive, Green Pond, SC 29446
GPS Coordinates: 32.687924,-80.596712


Donnelley WMA Map




Donnelley WMA – 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 Donnelley WMA, 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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6 Comments about Donnelley WMA

roger jonesNo Gravatar says:
February 12th, 2017 at 9:18 pm

I just wanted to say I have been to Donnelley on a few hunting trips, and I love it. I am wondering why don’t they fix up the old house and preserve it before it’s too late. I cant understand why our government can wast money on a lot of things that don’t matter and don’t have money to do things for good. The house could be there for more generations to come. I would love to remodel it. I hope someone does something soon. Thanks

Susan Petty says:
March 2nd, 2016 at 12:22 am

I hunted deer on this property when it was owned by the Richardson family. Oh what a beautiful tract of land. Since then I was "drawn" via my hunting license to hunt on Donnelley via WMA. If you want the experience of a lifetime, submit to participate in the WMA lottery for a hunt on Donnelley.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
November 17th, 2014 at 8:20 am

Hi, Nancy. I would suggest going to the link above the map and seeing what the November schedule looks like for the WMA. Best of luck!

Nancy LoveNo Gravatar says:
November 16th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

My children and I would like to come up to take pictures the week after Thanksgiving. Is there a particular day that would be best? Thank you.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 27th, 2014 at 8:09 am

Check with the website above the map for information on the WMA’s schedule.

Richard De Coursey says:
October 26th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

What days are open to the public for bird watching during hunting season?





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