The Dillon County Council and Friends of the Little Pee Dee requested the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to consider the Little Pee Dee River in Dillon County for designation as a State Scenic River in 2004. Staff of the DNR Scenic Rivers Program conducted a study of the river and determined the Little Pee Dee in Dillon County to be eligible for scenic river designation. The public was notified and public meetings were held to hear and address questions or concerns of citizens and landowners. In June 2005 the Little Pee Dee in Dillon County was designated a Scenic River by the General Assembly and ratified by the Governor. This section of the Little Pee Dee Scenic River extends 48-miles through Dillon County from the Marlboro County line above Parish Mill Bridge on State Road 363 to the confluence with Buck Swamp at the Marion County line.
The Little Pee Dee is a classic blackwater river and provides outstanding scenery with clear dark waters, sandy river bottoms and bars, and winding water trails lined by cypress-tupelo swamps and bottomland hardwood forests. The natural resources of the Little Pee Dee River provide outstanding recreational fishing and boating opportunities and many other nature-based recreations.
The Little Pee Dee River floodplain and adjacent uplands contain large acreages of wild and undeveloped forestland, wetlands, and open waters that provide important habitat for a great variety of wildlife species. The adjacent uplands contain additional wildlife habitat in a landscape of agricultural fields and upland forests. The free flowing, unaltered river system is an important resource for inland fisheries with its streams, sloughs, oxbow lakes, and swamps providing diverse habitat for native fish and other aquatic wildlife.
Little Pee Dee - Dillon Scenic River Advisory Council
The advisory council was established in the fall of 2005 and developed the following mission statement:
The mission of the Little Pee Dee Scenic River Advisory Council is to promote stewardship of the river for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Our focus will be conservation, utilization, awareness, protection and enhancement of the river's resources.
- Bill Marshall – SCDNR
- Jerry M. Arnette, Jr. – river landowner
- Sharon Cummings – river landowner
- Earl Dutton – Friends of Little Pee Dee
- Denis Grubb – river landowner
- John W. McColl – river landowner
- John D. McInnis, Jr. – river landowner
- Sam P. McInnis, Jr. – river landowner
- Larry Monahan – Friends of Little Pee Dee
- Neal Rogers – Conservation District Commissioner
- Geoff Akins – Little Pee State Park
- William H. (Bill) Aston – Wild Turkey Federation
- W. Ray Brown – river landowner
- Gene Butler – Dillon County Development Board
- Richard Calhoun – hunting and agriculture
- George B. (Brownie) Campbell – river recreation
- Thomas L. (Tommy) Norton – recreational boating
- William F. (Bill) Rogers – river landowner
- Daniel H. Shine – Little Pee Dee River Commission
- Andre’ Thompson – SCDNR – Law Enforcement Division
The advisory council has completed the Little Pee Dee Scenic River Management Plan (Adobe PDF file - file size 23M), published in the spring of 2008. This document defines community goals and objectives for the river and outlines a plan of action for the advisory council to address issues of land use and development, water quality and streamflow, recreational use and access, and fish and wildlife habitat protection.
River access is available along the entire 48-mile study area at three public boat ramps; and the public uses another ten public/private ramps and drop-in sites that are dispersed along the river’s length. Virtually all sections of the river accessed from these sites are navigable by small powerboats and canoes or kayaks; however, storm-downed trees and deadfalls may temporarily obstruct passage in some places. Access sites that are used by the public include the following:
- State Road 363 bridge: privately owned, drop-in access, no parking available
- S.C. Highway 57 bridge: privately owned, no drop-in access
- State Road 429 at McKay's Bridge: privately owned, limited public use, drop-in access, public parking not recommended
- State Road 23 at Harlee's Bridge: privately owned, drop-in access, limited public parking
- Norton's Landing at end of Norton Landing Road off S.C. Highway 9 west of Dillon, south/west bank of river: privately owned, drop-in access, very limited public parking
- Moccasin's Bluff ramp at end of State Road 437, north/east bank of river: SCDNR owned, public access, paved boat ramp, paved parking
- U.S. Highway 501/301 bridge: privately owned, paved boat ramp with dirt parking
- S.C. Highway 9 at Dillon Bridge, the old bridge: SCDOT owned, drop-in access, parking on old Highway 9 roadbed
- Dillon County Park off S.C. Highway 57, south of Dillon: Dillon County owned, paved boat ramp, dirt parking
- State Road 45 (Lester Road) at Floydale Bridge: Dillon County owned, paved boat ramp, dirt parking
- Little Pee Dee State Park Heritage Preserve, north side of river upstream of SR 22 at Carmichael’s Bridge: SCDNR owned, drop-in access at end of dirt road, no parking available. The Little Pee Dee State Park is adjacent to and down-river from this site; the State Park borders approximately one mile of the river along the north bank.
- S.C. Highway 41 at Huggins Bridge: privately owned, dirt boat ramp, dirt parking
- State Road 72 at Allen’s Bridge: privately owned, very limited public access, drop-in access, no parking
The Little Pee Dee is a popular river for canoeists with single-day float trips being the most common use. Opportunities for multiday canoe-camping trips are also available; however, designated camping sites are very limited. The only designated camping facilities along the river are at Little Pee Dee State Park, an 854-acre property managed by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; however, the existing campsites are over one-mile from the river. In low water conditions sand bars along the river can offer locations for primitive, backcountry camping, as can the many miles of swamp and forestlands lining the river. Camping on river-boarding lands will require permission from the landowners.
For additional information about the Little Pee Dee Scenic River Project contact:
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
1000 Assembly Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Telephone: (803) 734-9096
Adobe® Reader® is required to open the above files and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.