South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area
Latitude: 33.126 Longitude:-79.346
County: Charleston, Georgetown
Game Zone: 3,4
Property Type: WMA Specific
Hours of Operation
Area closed to visitors during scheduled hunts.
Additional hunting regulations apply to this property in Game Zone 3, refer to Rules and Regulations.
The area is open for other allowable activities during daylight hours.
The Cape Trail is closed annually from November 1st through February 8th due to hunting related activities.
All camping is primitive. Please plan accordingly.
Please note that Murphy and Cedar Islands and their beaches are not accesible from the mainland. Visitors must provide their own transportation via watercraft.
Activities / Facilities
Santee Coastal Reserve (SCR) Wildlife Management Area was established by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as a result of the purchase and donation of the property by The Nature Conservancy in 1974. This unique property represents a variety of habitats found in South Carolina including diverse uplands, freshwater, brackish and tidal wetlands and agricultural fields. This 24,000-acre property is composed of Murphy Island, Cedar Island, The Cape, Washo Reserve and adjacent upland habitats. Murphy Island, Cedar Island and The Cape are former rice fields managed for the benefit of breeding, migratory and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. Loggerhead sea turtles nest on Murphy and Cedar Islands. Washo Reserve, owned and co-managed by The Nature Conservancy, is a 1,040-acre sanctuary within Santee Coastal Reserve consisting of a cypress lake and surrounding upland longleaf pine buffer. The impounded cypress lake harbors the oldest wading bird rookery in continuous use in North America. Learn more about Washo Reserve. The upland habitat at SCR contains a diversity of forest types, including a natural stand of longleaf pine, Carolina bays and mixed hardwoods. The long-leaf pine and other forested areas support many colonies of the endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker, songbirds, raptors, butterflies, fox squirrels and other small mammals.
The SCDNR intensively manages SCR to provide optimum habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, to provide habitat for upland game and nongame species and to provide recreational opportunities for the hunting and non-hunting public. The area has four designated nature trails and miles of dirt roads for hikers and bicyclists. Late winter through early spring provides bird watching opportunities along the 500-foot boardwalk on the Washo Reserve to observe a variety of species including waterfowl, wading birds and migratory songbirds. Alligators are abundant in the managed wetlands and are most often seen from late February through mid-November. Hunting opportunities are available to the public for white-tailed deer, wild hogs, waterfowl (by special drawing only), bobwhite quail, small game and furbearers. Dates and times of hunts are available in the SCDNR Rules and Regulations brochure.