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Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

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The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 4053 acres (16 km²) National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world's premiere system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants...

 located in Beaufort County, South Carolina
Beaufort County, South Carolina
-National protected areas:*Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge *Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 155,215 people, 45,532 households, and 33,056 families residing in the county. The population density was 206 people per...

 between the mainland and Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island or Hilton Head is a resort town in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is north of Savannah, Georgia, and south of Charleston. The island gets its name from Captain William Hilton...

. Named after Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

, it was established to provide a nature and forest preserve for aesthetic and conservation purposes.

The refuge is one of seven refuges administered by the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex
Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex
The Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex administers seven wildlife refuges between Georgia and South Carolina. Over 56,000 acres of refuge land along a 100 mile coast line are administered by the complex.The complex includes seven refuges:...

 in Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

. The complex has a combined staff of 31 with a fiscal year 2005 budget of $3,582,000.

History


Pinckney Island NWR is archaeologically
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 rich, with 115 prehistoric and historic sites identified. Analysis of the prehistoric sites indicate human occupation dating from the Archaic Period (8000-1000 BC), with intensive use during the Mississippian Period (1000-1500 AD).

Historic artifacts indicate that small scale, impermanent settlements were made on Pinckney by French and Spanish groups in the 16th and 17th centuries. Permanent settlements did not occur until 1708 when Alexander Mackay
Alexander MacKay (fur trader)
Alexander MacKay was a Canadian fur trader and explorer who worked for the North West Company and the Pacific Fur Company...

, an Indian trader, obtained title to 200 acre (0.809372 km²) of present-day Pinckney Island. By 1715, Mackay had acquired the rest of the island, as well as most of the other islands which comprise the present refuge. In 1736, Mackay's widow sold the islands to Charles Pinckney
Charles Pinckney (South Carolina chief justice)
Charles Pinckney was a noted South Carolina politician and colonial agent.Pinckney was long prominent in colonial affairs, serving as attorney general of the Province of South Carolina in 1733, speaker of the assembly in 1736, 1738 and 1740, chief justice of the province in 1752–1753, and...

, father of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

.

General Pinckney was a commander during the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, a signer of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, and, in 1804 and 1808, a presidential candidate for the Federalist Party. After he inherited the islands from his father, Pinckney was an absentee landowner until 1804, when he moved to the island and began managing the property. The Pinckney family developed the islands into a plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

, removing much of the maritime forest and draining and tilling the fertile soil. By 1818, over 200 slave
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

s labored to produce fine quality long-staple Sea Island Cotton on 297 acres (1.2 km²); 386 slaves lived on the island by 1840.

The plantation flourished until the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, when it was occupied by Union troops
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

. Small skirmishes took place on Pinckney Island. The most significant incident occurred on August 21, 1862, when the Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 Beaufort Light Artillery/11th Infantry attacked the camp of Company H, Third Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers
3rd New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment
3rd New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment was an infantry regiment in the Union army during the American Civil War.It was organized at Camp Berry in Concord and mustered in on August 23, 1861, for three years service, 1047 officers and men. The regiment served most of its time on the Atlantic coast in...

, killing four Union soldiers and wounding ten men (eight Confederate, two Union).

US Army records reflect that black troops were recruited for the Union Army from the area. Five military (U.S. Colored Troops) headstones are located in a cemetery on the northwest side of Pinckney Island. It is possible that the U.S. Army had recruited slaves from the Pinckney plantation.

After the war and late century agricultural recession, the plantation did not prosper. By the 1930s, it was virtually abandoned. In 1937, after more than 200 years of Pinckney family ownership, the plantation was sold to Ellen Bruce, wife of James Bruce, a New York banker who used the property as a hunting preserve
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

. The Bruces planted hardwoods and pine, built ponds to attract waterfowl
Waterfowl
Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans....

 and provide for irrigation, and placed 70 percent of the farm fields back into cultivation.

In 1954 Edward Starr and James Madison Barker, a distinguished MIT alumnus and early leader in the field of international business, purchased the islands. They continued to manage them as a game preserve. In 1975, they donated the islands to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal government agency within the United States Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats...

 to be managed exclusively as a National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world's premiere system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants...

 (NWR) and as a nature and forest preserve for aesthetic and conservation purposes. The Pinckney Island NWR was established on December 4, 1975.

Topography


The 4053 acres (16 km²) refuge includes Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big Harry and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammock
Hammock (ecology)
Hammocks are dense stands of hardwood trees that grow on natural rises of only a few inches higher than surrounding marshland that is otherwise too wet to support them. Hammocks are distinctive in that they are formed gradually over thousands of years rising in a wet area through the deposits of...

s. Pinckney is the largest of the islands and the only one open to public use. Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

 and tidal creeks. A wide variety of land types are found on Pinckney Island alone: saltmarsh, forestland, brushland, fallow field
Crop rotation
Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.Crop rotation confers various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals...

 and freshwater pond
Pond
A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens, water features and koi ponds; all designed for aesthetic ornamentation as landscape or architectural...

s. In combination, these habitats support a diversity of bird and plant life.

Wildlife


Wildlife commonly observed on Pinckney Island include waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, and white-tailed deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

, with large concentrations of white ibis
White Ibis
There are three species of bird named White Ibis.* American White Ibis, Eudocimus albus* Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis molucca* Asiatic White Ibis is an alternative name for the Black-headed Ibis, Threskiornis melanocephala...

, heron
Heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

s, and egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s. Other species include the American Alligator
American Alligator
The American alligator , sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator, is a reptile endemic only to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two living species of alligator, in the genus Alligator, within the family Alligatoridae...

, Flatwoods Salamander
Flatwoods Salamander
The Frosted Flatwoods Salamander is a small , elongate species of mole salamander. It has a small, indistinct head, short legs, and a long, rounded tail...

, Nine-banded armadillo
Nine-banded Armadillo
The nine-banded armadillo , or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a species of armadillo found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos...

, Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

, and the Wood Stork
Wood Stork
The Wood Stork is a large American wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It was formerly called the "Wood Ibis", though it is not really an ibis.-Appearance:...

.

Facilities


There is no visitor center at the refuge. However, there are opportunities for hiking, cycling, photography and wildlife observation.

Each year the refuge holds a one-day quota deer hunt to ensure that population numbers remain in balance with the surrounding habitat. However, fishing is prohibited from the land portions of the refuge.

Trails


There are 10 miles (16.1 km) of hiking trails on the refuge and nine recommended hikes:
  • Ibis Pond - 1.2 miles (1.9 km), round trip; one and a half hours walking at a leisurely pace
  • Shell Point - 4.6 miles (7.4 km), round trip; four hours and 15 minutes
  • Wood Stork Pond - 2.7 miles (4.3 km), round trip; two and a half hours
  • Osprey Pond - 3 miles (4.8 km), round trip; three hours
  • Nini Chapin Pond - 3.6 miles (5.8 km), round trip; three and a half hours
  • Bull Point - 5 miles (8 km), round trip; five hours
  • Dick Point - 7.4 miles (11.9 km), round trip; six and a half hours
  • Clubhouse Pond - 6.2 miles (10 km), round trip; five and a half hours
  • White Point - 7.8 miles (12.6 km), round trip; seven hours

External links