DNR Managed Lands
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources manages public lands through two distinct programs. The Heritage Trust Program was created to conserve those natural features and cultural resources that are quickly disappearing as the state’s population increases in size. The Wildlife Management Area Program was initially developed to provide quality public hunting opportunities throughout the state. Today, its multiple use concepts provide opportunities for all wildlife enthusiasts.
The Heritage Trust Program
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Heritage Trust Program was created in 1976, the first such program in the nation, to help stem the tide of habitat loss by protecting critical natural habitats and significant cultural sites. Enabling legislation directed the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), in concert with other state agencies, to set aside a portion of the state’s rich natural and cultural heritage in a system of heritage preserves to be protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
These natural areas and cultural sites provide resources for scientific research; serve as reservoirs of natural and historical elements and habitats for rare and vanishing species. Visitors may observe natural biotic and environmental systems as areas for both study and enjoyment and as examples of the lands, structures and related artifacts which represent significant aspects of South Carolina’s historical and cultural heritage. As of 2008, more than 83,000 acres have been protected as Heritage Preserves.
The Heritage Trust Program is funded through revenue collected from the real estate documentary stamp tax and by a small amount of state appropriated funds. The income is deposited into the Heritage Land Trust Fund and used for acquisition and management of significant natural and cultural areas.
The preserves are open for public educational and recreational uses during daylight hours in accordance with Heritage Preserve rules. Many are included in the WMA Program, with hunting and fishing allowed according to state regulations. Preserve boundaries are clearly marked with white Heritage Preserve signs.
Contributions to the Endangered Wildlife Fund on the South Carolina Income Tax Form help to make the identification and management of these preserves possible.
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