DescriptionNorth of Charleston, Francis Marion National Forest covers 259,000 acres of low flatlands; coastal sand areas; black swamp waters; moss-hung oaks; pines; and little lakes, or Carolina Bays, thought to be water-filled meteorite impact depressions. The land had been heavily logged and was in poor condition when it was purchased from private owners in the 1930s. The newly created forest was named for the Revolutionary War general who engaged British troops in many skirmishes and battles in the area and then took refuge in the deep swamps, thus earning the nickname Swamp Fox. Much of the restoration performed over the succeeding 5 decades was undone by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, when more than 1 billion board feet of timber was destroyed.
Home to varied wildlife, the forest is a primary habitat of the red-cockaded woodpecker and of the swallow-tailed kite. The Sewee Visitors Center in Awendaw off Hwy. 17, offers an interpretive and environmental educational experience. Maps of the forest and Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Refuges are available.
For additional information contact the Forest Supervisor's Office, 4931 Broad River Rd., Columbia, SC 29212. Phone (803) 561-4000.