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Wateree Heritage Preserve and WMA
June 24 @ 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Wateree River Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area
Richland County, SC
10:30 AM, June 24, 2017
Our June trip will be to Wateree River HP/WMA in Richland County. This area contains
the former Cook’s Mountain Tract and a portion of the Goodwill Tract. It was transferred
to SC DNR on June 2, 2015. It contains 3,677 acres adjoining the Wateree River. It was
protected as partial mitigation for the Haile Gold Mine Project in Lancaster County. It
combines an interesting mix of wetlands and drier areas.
The June date was chosen to avoid the Saturday hunting activities allowed on the
property. If there is sufficient interest, we may schedule a special during cooler weather
Soon after you enter the property, you reach the first check-in kiosk [0.4 miles]. We will
meet at this first kiosk at 10:30. From there we will go to the Fish Pond area, which has
a large parking lot. In addition to the pond, there is extensive open area, including a
power line right of way. After exploring the pond area, we will make our way to the top of
Cook’s Mountain and enjoy the overlook and lunch. There is reasonable parking here as
well. After lunch there are lots of roads and trails to explore. There are only four large
parking areas, however; one of these [the second kiosk] is designated for equestrian
use. Smaller groups or carpools are recommended for the rest of the roads. We are
starting at the open pond area so we can explore the relatively cooler shady areas later
as the day heats up.
There are almost 10 miles of drivable roads in addition to an extensive network of trails
and closed roads. We scouted the area in a Volt, which managed all of the roads
without problems. Most of the side roads end at gates. Usually there is a reasonable
area to turn around at the gate. We had to do a multi-point turn at the end of Turnip
We have requested extra maps. However, these are not guaranteed. A scanned copy is
included with the newsletter; you may want to print your own copy.
The first part of the main road goes by property owned by someone sensitive to
possible trespass. This property is VERY WELL MARKED! Do not trespass. Try very
hard not to spy a great snake or rare plant on this property. I have been told that people
have been charged for trespassing here.
Dinner will be at Mr. Bunky’s Restaurant, which is 7.6 miles west on US 378 from the
preserve entrance. They have an extensive menu as well as a hot bar and a salad bar.
The hot bar is not a buffet; it is meat and two sides. Service from the menu can be slow.
So, if you are in a hurry, one of the bars would be the appropriate choice. There are
also limited beer and wine options. Mr. Bunky’s has a farm supply store and meat
market downstairs and a mini antique mall downstairs. So, if you are in need of a
wrench or light bulb, you can pick one up.
From the intersection of US 601 and 378, drive east approximately 1.84 miles and turn
left on Goodwill Road.
To get to Mr. Bunky’s from Wateree River HP/WMA. Turn right on US 378. Drive 7.6
miles. The restaurant will be on the left (south side of the road).