South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area
Property LocationBluffton, SC 29910
Latitude: 32.263 Longitude:-80.82
Game Zone: 3
Property Type: Heritage Preserve / WMA Specific
Hours of Operation
The preserve is open year round.
Activities / Facilities
Located only minutes from Hilton Head Island, the 977 acre Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve provides an escape from the crowds. The preserve contains an example of the pine-saw palmetto flatwoods community. This community type is widespread in Florida and Georgia, but rare in South Carolina.
As the name suggests, the pine-saw palmetto community is dominated by longleaf and slash pine in the overstory and saw palmetto in the understory. In addition to saw palmetto, other evergreen species such as galberry and fetterbush occur and form dense thickets.
The other community type located on the preserve is the mainland maritime forest. This community occurs adjacent to the saltwater creeks and is dominated by live oak, cabbage palm, and slash pine. The understory is somewhat sparse with saw palmetto being the primary component.
Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve also has about 35 wet depressions ranging from one tenth of an acre to 60 acres. These depressions are closed drainage systems with no outflow of water. They provide habitat for the rare plant pond spice. This aromatic shrub is found from North Carolina to Georgia.
The preserve provides an excellent area for birdwatching, particularly in the spring. Pine, yellow-throated, and yellow rumped warblers, white-eyed vireos, summer tanagers and flycatchers can be seen in a short time. White-tailed deer, fox and gray squirrels can also be observed.
Fire plays a major role in shaping the species that occur on the preserve. Historically, fires would have been frequent and kept the understory clear of invading shrubby vegetation. These open conditions favor many rare species like pond spice. Encroachment by subdivisions and homes around Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve has made prescribed burning difficult. Preserve managers are working to mimic lightning caused fires by conducted prescribed burns in fire adapted communities.