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Liberty Hill WMA

July 22, 2017 @ 10:30 am - 5:00 pm

Liberty Hill Wildlife Management Area
Kershaw & Lancaster Counties
Latitude/longitude (WGS84) of the parking area is
Regional Director: Katherine Boyle

On Saturday July 22 we will meet at 10:30 AM at the kiosk of SCDNR’s Liberty Hill WMA. This recently acquired SCDNR
property protects 8000 acres of Piedmont forest on the western shore of Lake Wateree. The forest is dominated by mature loblolly and shortleaf pines on the upland ridges, mixed pine-hardwood along the lower hillsides, and mature hardwoods along the creeks. The topography is hilly, rising from 225 feet at the shore to over 500 feet on the hilltops. Slopes in many locations are surprisingly steep and large granite boulders dot the landscape, giving the region the nickname “Devil’s Backbone.”

The 9-mile road that runs north/south through the property has been greatly improved and should be drivable by all vehicles – with the understanding that a rainstorm can make for some slippery spots. Botanists should be sure to head north to visit Langley Branch, just beyond the Lancaster county line. With rocky slopes and a rich herbaceaous layer, Langley Branch looks like a mountain stream. Or, for early successional habitat and the associated insects and birds, we can walk (or drive) the 1.2-mile road from the kiosk parking area to the lake, passing a number of wildlife food plots and grassy open areas.

Does anyone want to kayak? At the lake is a dock we can use (assuming we’re able to carry a kayak up and down the twenty or so steps!). I haven’t been kayaking here myself, but DNR property manager Donald Cockman tells me that he and his wife enjoy exploring the coves by kayak.

Southern portion of the Liberty Hill property. See full map at
Unfortunately all the side-road gates shown on the map will be locked on the day of our visit, with the exception of the one on the road leading to the dock. Mountain biking, emphasis on mountain(!), is an option here.

When I visited the Liberty Hill property last week, I came across several patches of Crested Coralroot (Hexalectris spicata), a not-very-common orchid that is mycoheterotrophic, meaning it primarily obtains nutrients not from photosynthesis but through mycorrhizal fungi. Be sure to keep an eye out for this striking plant. Heritage staff has also been looking for Longleaf Pine on the property. We found a small patch on the roadside at 34.4798N 80.8554W, near the cemetery; if anyone finds any other longleaf sites please let me know.

How to get there:
From the junction of US-521 (DeKalb Street) and US-1 (Broad Street) in downtown Camden, go 2 miles north on US-521 and bear left onto SC-97 (Liberty Hill Road). Go 17.8 miles northwest on SC-97; on your left you’ll see the Liberty Hill Post Office (tiny white building) as well as a sign for the Liberty Hill WMA – turn here. Almost immediately you’ll see a second sign for the WMA; here bear right onto a gravel road (Wildlife Road). Go 3.2 miles west and turn left to park at the WMA information and sign-in area (and please remember to sign in!).

Latitude/longitude (WGS84) of the parking area is

Where to eat:
Camden House of Pizza
Greek and Italian food – see menu:

Address: 545 East DeKalb Street, Camden 29020
Just east of the junction of US-521 (DeKalb Street) and US-1 (Broad Street) in downtown Camden
Phone: (803) 432-1446

Hope to see everyone there!
— Kathy Boyle


Western Regional Director(s)