Open Space Institute Acquires 2,248 Additional Acres Along the Santee River

Image Credit: Michelle Johnson, SC Forestry Commission; Marsh Dean

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (Dec. 20, 2022)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the purchase of an additional 2,248 acres to expand the Wee Tee State Forest on the Santee River. The acquisition adds to the 5,700 acres protected by OSI along the Santee River in 2021 and represents OSI’s latest significant victory on behalf of the Santee River Wilderness Corridor — South Carolina’s largest and most intact wilderness area.

Nestled within the Santee River basin, the newly protected “RMS-Wadmacon Creek” property (RMS-Wadmacon) features miles of riverfront flanked by diverse and intact bottomland hardwood forests. These forests shelter 116 wildlife species of conservation concern while delivering critical clean water to downstream fresh and saltwater marshes, which famously host most of the state’s wintering waterfowl.

“OSI is proud that this remote, wild, and exceptional property will forever help sustain waterfowl and water quality,” said Dr. Maria Whitehead, OSI’s Vice President of Land in the Southeast. “But it’s not just for the birds. It’s for people too. Land protection at this immense scale will also mitigate climate change by storing almost two million metric tons of carbon and absorbing flood waters during extreme weather events.”

The Santee River Wilderness Corridor stretches 75 miles from the Wee Tee State Forest to the Atlantic Ocean on the floodplain of the North and South Santee Rivers. It includes 32 percent of the state’s coastal marshes, as well as managed wetlands that support a large portion of the state’s overwintering waterfowl.

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