Law enforcement will be a major component of resource
management. Directed and random patrols will be relied upon for both
deterrence and apprehension. The protection of resources and the safety of
persons using those resources will be paramount in all enforcement
activities. Authorized uses will be regulated by law enforcement officers
to encourage greater voluntary compliance. Laws and regulations will be
The following addresses the main issues for which the
Law Enforcement Division will be responsible and identifies major
enforcement needs to enhance public safety, as well as to protect the
natural resources. As the management plan evolves, needs and areas of
responsibility will be identified.
SCDNR law enforcement officers assigned to Oconee and
Pickens counties are responsible for working the Jocassee Gorges property.
Enforcement personnel assigned to Oconee County consist
of four officers. These officers are responsible for enforcement on
approximately 5,000 acres of Jocassee Gorges property and 10,000 acres of
Bad Creek property within the Jocassee Gorges Project. Oconee officers
also patrol 85,000 acres of National Forest lands in the WMA program,
outside of Jocassee Gorges. In addition, their patrol duties also include
all the private lands and public waters of Jocassee, Keowee and Hartwell
lakes within the boundaries of Oconee County.
Four Pickens County law enforcement officers are
responsible for patrolling approximately 27,000 acres of Jocassee Gorges
property. In addition to Jocassee Gorges property, Pickens County officers
are responsible for 14,000 acres of DEC property (not in Jocassee Gorges),
over 4,000 acres of Clemson University property and all private lands and
public waters of Keowee and Jocassee lakes within the boundaries of
This small group of officers may be augmented on
occasion by temporary assignments of personnel from other counties for
special patrols and operations. Deputy law enforcement officers also
assist on specialized patrols. SCDNR personnel with Deputy Law Enforcement
Officer commissions, who work in the area on a routine basis, will work
with the Law Enforcement Division to ensure enforcement of regulations.
Officers working Jocassee Gorges property routinely
remain in these areas for assigned work periods because of mountain roads
and terrain that require slow travel by four-wheel-drive vehicles. This
slow response time limits their ability to answer calls in other areas of
the assigned county. Daily patrols by district officers cannot be
accomplished efficiently because of the number of personnel and other
enforcement responsibilities. The Jocassee Gorges property is normally
patrolled one time weekly and daily on weekends when gates are open.
All SCDNR law enforcement officers receive the standard
10-week police officer basic training at the Criminal Justice Academy,
followed by a five-week SCDNR basic training course.
Officers assigned to the property and officers assigned
to Oconee and Pickens counties will be given extensive training in
search-and-rescue procedures for mountainous terrain, white-water rescue,
crowd control, traffic control, identifying plant and animal species, use
of specialized equipment, horseback riding, and canine training.
C. Traditional Fish and Wildlife Enforcement
SCDNR officers assigned to this area are currently
responsible for enforcing all state laws and regulations that pertain to
this area. The following activities are currently monitored on the
Laws pertaining to big game (deer, turkey and bears)
and small game (squirrels, raccoons and migratory birds) are presently
enforced on the properties. Enforcement of all wildlife-related laws will
be a primary responsibility.
Extensive efforts currently emphasize enforcement of
laws pertaining to the areas trout fisheries.
a) Trout Streams
Enforcement responsibilities consist of checking
licenses, creel and possession limits, use of illegal bait, and size
b) Jocassee Lake
This lake is the largest lake trout fishery in the
state. Enforcement responsibilities consist of checking licenses, creel
and possession limits, size limits and enforcing the regulation concerning
the illegal use of baits.
3) Backpacking (Hiking)
Present enforcement responsibilities include patrolling
the Foothills Trail, scenic waterfalls, and numerous walking trails.
Officers primary task consists of performing search-and-rescue operations
for lost or injured hikers.
Primitive camping areas are located throughout the
properties. SCDNR officers are currently tasked with the responsibilities
of enforcing camping regulations that pertain to campers using
5) Wildlife and Outdoor Photography/Bird-Watching
Enforcement responsibilities include performing
search-and-rescue operations for missing outdoor photographers and bird
watchers who get lost in remote areas such as Jumping Off Rock. Currently
no laws or regulations exist concerning this group of outdoor enthusiasts.
6) Rock Climbing
Past enforcement responsibilities consisted of
performing search-and-rescue operations when these individuals became lost
or injured. Since rock climbing and rappelling will be prohibited on
Jocassee Gorges, future efforts will involve monitoring for compliance.
7) Recreational Riding of OHVs
OHV use consists of four-wheelers, two-wheel dirt
bikes, and four-wheel drive vehicles. The improper use of vehicles has
been and continues to be a major enforcement problem in the mountain areas
of Jocassee Gorges. Traditional use of off-highway vehicles on
non-designated areas can degrade native trout waters, wildlife food plots,
plantings, and wildlife habitat. Destruction of gates and signs
designating closed areas for vehicles constitutes major enforcement
problems currently for all officers enforcing this area. Many man hours
are expended patrolling the Jocassee Gorges area for violations of closed
roads and intentional destruction of gates and signs.
Current law needs to be changed to give the SCDNR the
authority to enforce all laws and regulations that apply to WMA lands.
Also, WMA Regulation 123.94 (#14) needs to be repealed with the
appropriate penalty section.
D. Search and Rescue
The Law Enforcement Division of the SCDNR is a public
safety entity responsible for search and rescue of missing persons.
The types of search-and-rescue missions should not
change with the expansion of the use of the property; however, the number
of rescues will probably increase.
All the necessary equipment such as four-wheel-drive
vehicles, four-wheelers, radio equipment, helicopter, horses, canines, and
rappelling equipment will be needed to perform these rescue operations.
One of the main items of equipment needed to perform
these search-and-rescue operations is the SCDNR's helicopter. The
department's chief pilot will be designating helicopter landing sites for
possible consideration in future development of these properties. The
assigned officers should receive some specific training as helicopter
spotters, which will further enhance their value as observers and
coordinators during the on-area flights. Climbing clubs and/or military
experts will be used to assist in search-and-rescue operations for which
officers have not received extensive training (i.e. mountain climbing,
E. Property Crime
Common types of vandalism that presently occur are the
destruction of gates, signs and trail markers, and the painting of
graffiti on rocks and scenic overlooks.
Currently there is a problem of theft of personal
equipment of hunters, backpackers, and fishermen.
Destruction of Roads
Currently there is a major problem of off-road
vehicles, horses, etc. causing extensive damage to the road system.
Illegal dumping and indiscriminate littering pose a
Additional manpower will be needed to deter these
activities, while electronic monitoring equipment may be of help in some
instances. Saturation patrols will be organized utilizing additional SCDNR
manpower, as well as other law enforcement agencies' personnel.
F. Liaison with Other Divisions/Agencies
The district captain, unit supervisor, and local SCDNR
officers will work closely with other divisions in writing regulations,
closing roads, setting seasons, etc. Regular meetings will be held to
coordinate and cultivate good planning and communications.
Oconee and Pickens Counties' sheriffs' departments,
SCFC and SCPRT presently have a good working relationship with the SCDNR.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the two sheriffs' offices, SCFC,
SCPRT, local rescue squads, etc. may be established to reduce potential
conflicts and formalize assistance that will be provided, especially
relating to some of the activities in which the different entities would
be involved. These would include search-and-rescue missions, thefts,
vandalism, illegal drug use, underage drinking, and cultivation of
All SCDNR officers patrolling Jocassee Gorges area are
assigned four-wheel-drive vehicles. Four-wheel-drive is necessary to
effectively patrol all areas of this property. More than 90 percent of the
public entering Jocassee property operate four-wheel drive vehicles.
All-terrain four-wheelers are assigned to officers in Oconee and Pickens
Counties. The vehicles are used to work remote, off-road areas of Jocassee
Gorges to apprehend subjects driving behind closed gates, conduct
search-and-rescue operations, enforce the removal of marijuana plants,
investigate baiting areas, and apprehend non-resident hunters crossing
over the South Carolina-North Carolina line in remote areas.
At least two all-terrain four-wheelers and boats will
need to be assigned and possibly located on-site for quick emergency
response. All of the officers assigned to the two counties presently have
similar vehicles assigned that are used throughout the entire work area.
Communication by radio is sometimes difficult and
requires officers to climb or drive to higher elevations to talk to
Columbia and Greenville radio stations on Caesars Head repeater. Long
Mountain repeater in Oconee County has been and will remain the primary
channel for officers working in remote areas of Jocassee Gorges
properties. All employees and other individuals that work the two-county
area presently have various means of communications. It is imperative that
the sheriffs' departments, local rescue squads, other divisions, and other
agencies involved in the properties have a similar and compatible radio
communication system. If manpower is added, each additional officer will
require mobile units and walkie talkies. Additionally, officers patrolling
these areas should be issued cellular phones to enhance the communication
The purchase of electronic monitoring equipment will
enhance and improve enforcement abilities in areas where 24-hour presence
cannot be accomplished and will allow officers to strategically locate
cameras in areas of high vandalism. This equipment is fairly expensive.
However, the results should justify the expense.
This area may be suitable for a recently developed
Portable Audible Locator (PAL) system for search-and-rescue missions. This
has been an effective tool in locating lost hikers, hunters and anglers in
the Ocala National Forest in Florida. The information on this system will