Mac Stone Hasty Point Wetlands Image

Open Space Institute Secures Key Riverfront Acreage Adjacent to Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge

Image Credit: Mac Stone

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (Feb. 8, 2023)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the permanent protection of a key riverfront property adjacent to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge (WNWR). Conservation of the land will expand recreational access, safeguard regional drinking water resources, and buffer both the celebrated refuge and nearby Sandy Island from incompatible uses.

Spanning 56 acres, the “Hendrix” property lies just west of the Waccamaw Neck and less than two miles from some of the most popular beaches in South Carolina. Less than a half mile to the north of the property is Sandy Island, a 9,000-acre conservation success story that includes one of the most intact Gullah communities in South Carolina. Had the Hendrix property not been purchased by OSI, the land could have been sold for uses incompatible with the goals of the Sandy Island community and the WNWR.

Despite their proximity to the beach, the Waccamaw River wetlands around the Hendrix property still rise and fall with the tide but remain completely freshwater. Such “intertidal freshwater wetlands” are some of the most biodiverse and ecologically important habitats in North America. With their protection, the property’s wetlands and forests will not only provide habitat for sensitive and rare species, but also help filter drinking water resources locally and for the larger watershed.

“The protection of the Hendrix property will further protect the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, Sandy Island, and the downstream Winyah Bay estuary. This tract is a priceless gift for future generations, as well as the species that depend upon the Waccamaw River,” said Dr. Maria Whitehead, OSI’s Vice President of Land in the Southeast. “By protecting pristine lands like the Hendrix property, we can ensure that the river continues to produce all the benefits it provides to the public. We thank the landowner for their dedication to the Waccamaw River, as well as our partners at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge and Ducks Unlimited for their unflagging dedication to South Carolina’s irreplaceable natural heritage.”

The Hendrix property adjoins WNWR lands on all sides including a recent tract that was donated by the Historic Ricefields Association (HRA) in December 2022.

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