Highlights of the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary
The swamp consists of hardwood flats which are defined by a series of streams which braided their way through the area. Wildlife is abundant with native populations of wild turkey, deer, raccoons, beaver, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox, and wildcats. There is a large, year round, population of song birds, as well as wading birds, ducks, and predator birds. The area serves as a stopover for transient and migrating birds.
Bird Watching – Over 80 species have been observed on a seasonal basis including 50 year round species. Wild turkeys, wood ducks, warblers, wood storks, pileated woodpeckers, bald eagles, accipiters, buteos, falcons, owls, wading birds, kinglets, and a wide variety of other birds including endangered species are regularly observed. Additionally, deer, beaver, mink, otter, coyote, flying squirrels, fox, and numerous varieties of reptiles and fish visit the sanctuary.
Hiking/walking/jogging – Miles of overland trails and boardwalks provide an opportunity for visitors who combine their love of the outdoors with exercise. Crisscrossing the system of braided streams, the boardwalks traverse the historic Charleston to Savannah wagon road and tie the highland trails together.
Bicycling – A bicycle path follows an existing easement and will become a part of a system which will include residential areas and the historic downtown area.
Canoeing/kayak trail – Approximately 1.5 miles of Ireland Creek are navigable by shallow draft boats. The depth and width of the waterway provide an unusual way to enjoy the sanctuary or to learn to canoe in relative safety.
Preservation – The headwaters of the Ashepoo River (the A in the ACE Basin), originate in the sanctuary. By protecting this resource, a major portion of the pristine ACE Basin will be preserved. Three creeks join inside of the Sanctuary to form one of the major tributaries of the ACE Basin. In a very real sense, the Sanctuary protects the sensitive headwaters of the Basin.
The Charleston to Savannah wagon road runs through the heart of the sanctuary. While the wooden bridges have decayed, the impressive road bed remains. The bridges have been replaced with boardwalks and the road bed has become an integral part of the trails. The overland commerce of Colonial times moved over this road. Persons interested in history and archaeology are able to explore and traverse the Old Wagon/Stage Coach Road over which all overland traffic passed between Charleston and Savannah.
Interpretive and Welcome Center – Within the radius prescribed by a day trip by bus, there are approximately 380,000 school children. A vital part of the Interpretive Center's program will be directed towards our children. Professionals in the field of environmental education will design and conduct classes and demonstrations to help the residents of the low country appreciate the beauty and importance of the swamps which are so prevalent in the region.
Environmental Education – A Discovery Center will be constructed which will greet visitors and provide them with information about the Sanctuary and how to enjoy it. Also, visitors will be able to view displays representing the other nature-based facilities in the lower part of South Carolina. The staff will assist visitors in making arrangements to visit other locations.
The interpretive portion will consist of a large classroom/community room and displays representing the diverse wildlife living in the Sanctuary. Educational programs for groups of all ages will be offered and promoted. The facilities will accommodate handicapped persons.
The Sanctuary will be a program driven facility. Only in this way can the full potential of the facilities be realized. Professionals will develop and conduct all programs.