Black Scenic River

Black Scenic River

Project Overview

The Black River flows through the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. The headwaters originate in Lee County south of the town of Bishopville and the river flows southeasterly through the counties of Sumter, Clarendon, and Williamsburg for 150 miles as it makes its way to join with the Great Pee Dee River in Georgetown County.

This is a free-flowing blackwater river shouldered by a ribbon of dense, undisturbed swamp forest. The water has a dark inky black color due to chemicals known as tannins leached from tree leaves and other organic material decomposing in the surrounding swamps. This river has white sandbars at low water levels and unique alternating ‘lake-like’ and ‘narrow’ river areas. This ribbon of wild and undeveloped land provides high quality habitat for a variety of plant and animal species including some rare, threatened and endangered species such as American chaffseed and the swallow-tailed kite.

In 1999, the Williamsburg Hometown Chamber Quality of Place Committee requested that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) consider the Black River for inclusion in the State Scenic River Program. In the Spring of 2000, DNR staff initiated an eligibility study of the Black River in Clarendon, Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties. Public meetings held in October 2000 revealed significant local interest for conserving the unique and outstanding resources of the Black River. The Williamsburg, Clarendon and Georgetown County Councils adopted resolutions of support for the designation. In June 2001, a 75-mile segment of the Black River became South Carolina's seventh and longest State Scenic River. This scenic river segment begins at County Road #40 in Clarendon County, and extends southeast through Williamsburg County to Pea House Landing at the end of County Road #38 in Georgetown County, South Carolina.

The purpose of the South Carolina Scenic Rivers Program is to conserve unique and outstanding river resources throughout South Carolina. To accomplish this goal, the program employs a voluntary, cooperative community-based process, which allows landowners, community interests and the DNR to work together towards common river conservation goals.

Leadership for the Black Scenic River Project comes from the Black Scenic River Advisory Council, which represents local landowners, river users, community interests, and SCDNR. The first major task of the advisory council is the creation of a management plan. This plan will be created using an open community-based process where local citizens identify their vision and goals for the river, discuss and define issues of concern, and then seek resolutions to achieve their vision. Once the management plan is completed it will become the guide for ongoing activities for the advisory council.

Black Scenic River Advisory Council, 2009

Mission Statement:

Educate, protect, conserve, and be an advocate for the well being of the river through open, fact-based communication with interested individuals and corporate partners. The Scenic Black River Advisory Council promotes stewardship and long-range planning for the sustainable development of wildlife habitats in order to enhance native and natural beautification design.

Advisory Council Meetings:

All advisory council meetings are open to the public and are currently held biannually in Kingstree. You will need to contact Bill Marshall for the time and place of the meeting.

Voting Members:

Ex-Officio Members:

Recreational Opportunities and Access

Public Access:


Black Scenic River Project Manager
Bill Marshall
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
Telephone: 803-734-9096
Fax: 803-734-9200

Local Contacts for the Black River Information and Accommodations:

Williamsburg Hometown Chamber of Commerce
130 East Main Street
Kingstree, SC 29556

Blackwater Adventures
P.O. Box 4639
Pinopolis, SC 29469