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Savannah Wildlife Refuge

December 16 @ 10:30 am - 6:30 pm

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
Jasper Couny, SC
Meet at the Kingfisher Pond Loop Parking Area
170 Speedway Blvd, Hardeeville, SC 29927
Regional Director: Paul Kalbach

Summary:
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/savannah/

Join us on December 16, 2017 at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for a day of naturalist pursuits. This refuge is designed for winter waterfowl and thus is a prime birding location. Most of the trails are well maintained and there is a four mile driving loop with multiple stops and side trails.

It should be noted that the location and open nature of terrain makes for cold conditions depending on the weather. Dress accordingly.

While scouting, we observed a wide variety of raptors though most were at a distance. Highly recommend good
binoculars or a scope.
.
From the web site:
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, established April 6, 1927, consists of 29,452 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, and bottomland hardwoods. About half the refuge is bottomland, composed primarily of cypress, gum, and maple species. Access to these areas is by boat only.

The 3,000 acres of freshwater impoundments managed for migratory waterfowl were formerly the rice fields of plantations dating back to the mid or late 1700’s. Many of the dikes enclosing these pools were originally built during the rice culture era.

All dikes are open to foot travel during daylight hours, unless otherwise posted, and provide excellent wildlife observation points. Waterfowl are most abundant from November through February, while alligators and other reptiles are frequently seen from March through October. Birdwatching opportunities are good all year,
but are best from October through April when temperatures are mild and many species of waterfowl and other wintering birds are present.

Motorists are welcome on the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive, off of S.C. 170, which meanders along four miles of earthen dikes through managed freshwater pools and hardwood hammocks. Many hiking and biking trails are also available to the visiting public. Visitors can also enjoy other wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities such as hunting and fishing which are allowed at certain times of the year (please refer to hunting and fishing regulations).

The Savannah NWR Visitor Center is located on U.S. 17, seven miles north of downtown Savannah, Georgia or seven miles south of I-95 at Hardeeville, South Carolina.

Where and When:
We will meet at the Kingfisher Pond Recreation Area parking lot at 10:30am. This is marked as Location A on the map in the December newsletter.

The Kingfisher Pond loop trail is a short loop around the pond. This loop is the only trail that isn’t well maintained and would be difficult for anyone with limited mobility. There are sections that may be flooded. Waterproof boots a must. The boat ramp provides access to anyone wanting to bring a canoe or kayak.

If anyone does not wish to attempt this trail I recommend moving on to location B on the map in the newsletter.

Location B is the entrance to the four mile driving loop. There are a series of parking areas along the loop and several side trails. Points of interest include a blind and several hardwood hammocks (shown on the map in the newsletter). The trails off of the driving loop are all well maintained and easily accessed.

Location C is a parking area across the road from the exit of the driving loop. This location provides access to a complex of trails along the canals north of route 170. These trails are only accessible on foot and could occupy the whole day. Note on the map below that the red trail at location C connects to location A. For anyone willing
to make the hike, we can arrange transportation to let you make that a one way trip.

Address:
Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex Headquarters
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville, SC 29927
(843) 784-2468
savannahcoastal@fws.gov

Directions from Columbia:
Location A
Kingfisher Pond Recreation Area
• I-26 to I-95
• From I-95 Southbound: Take SC Exit 5 (Hardeeville/Savannah), U.S. 17 South towards Savannah, GA (right off of exit ramp). After about 5 miles the Recreation area will be on the right.

Location B
Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive
• I-26 to I-95
• From I-95 Southbound: Take SC Exit 5 (Hardeeville/Savannah), U.S. 17 South towards Savannah, GA (right off of exit ramp). After about 6 miles, you’ll come to an interchange with SC 170 West.
Stay on U.S. 17 up over the overpass like you’re going to Savannah, and the Savannah NWR Visitor Center entrance is approximately 1/2 mile beyond the overpass on your right. There is a sign at the interchange with SC 170 West indicating to exit right for the Savannah NWR
• Continue for approximately 2 1/2 miles to the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive entrance on your left.

Location C
• I-26 to I-95
• From I-95 Southbound: Take SC Exit 5 (Hardeeville/Savannah), U.S. 17 South towards Savannah, GA (right off of exit ramp). After about 6 miles, you’ll come to an interchange with SC 170 West.
Stay on U.S. 17 up over the overpass like you’re going to Savannah, and the Savannah NWR Visitor Center entrance is approximately 1/2 mile beyond the overpass on your right. There is a sign at the interchange with SC 170 West indicating to exit right for the Savannah NWR
• Continue for approximately 1 mile to the Tupelo Trail Parking entrance on your right.

Dinner:
Chickin Lickin
I-95 Exit 8 / Hwy 278
(843) 784-6400

Dinner will be at the Chickin Lickin located at Exit 8 off I-95 in the Joker Joe’s truck stop. We will meet there at 4:30PM. Note that there is a Chickin Lickin at Exit 5 but that site is too small for our group.

Directions from any of the 3 Savannah NWR locations:
• I-95 north
• Exit 8 / Hwy 278
• Immediately on the right

Details

Date:
December 16
Time:
10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Event Category:
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2024470224501243/

Organizer

Southern Regional Director(s)