Thursday, March 1, 2018

2018 Walk Through History at Yawkey Center

New Sign with decoy accents, Jeff Dennis and SCDNR's Jim Lee
This is what 'Off The Bus' looks like!
My educational field trip to the Yawkey Center in 2016 provided a glimpse of pristine maritime habitat through a van window during a three-hour driving tour. When the opportunity for an “off-the-bus” visit came up, including strenuous activity with several miles of walking, I jumped at the opportunity. The hiking trails led us to the abandoned chimneys and water cistern at historic Smithville, ruins of a steam-operated sawmill, and Civil War fortifications with a commanding view to guard the entrance to Winyah Bay.

The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center is 24,000-acres of barrier islands that is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in a partnership with the Yawkey Foundation. This property comprises of North Island, South Island and Cat Island and was the second home to Tom Yawkey. After Yawkey’s passing he willed the land to South Carolina in 1976 and set up at multi-million dollar endowment to pay for ongoing wildlife habitat management. The Yawkey Foundation in Boston administers this funding, including a directive for educational tours of the Yawkey Center which are conducted by 30-year SCDNR veteran Jim Lee.

Watch your step - wildlife abounds at Yawkey Center
The history tour with walking through the old sawmill location is generally conducted in winter to try and minimize encounters with insects and snakes. “Ticks are present here any time of year so I advise visitors to check for them at the end of the day,” said Lee. The hiking trails generally offer firm footing but the exception comes when crossing a ditch or two with water and soft mud in place. Stepping on a log, or jumping from bank to bank is where this walking tour requires a more advanced level of readiness, but I found it wasn’t more than what an outdoor enthusiast is already familiar with. The difference between this place and others, is that your footprints are one of only a limited few that have touched the ground in this storied locale.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from the Yawkey Center click on 2016 Education Tour -  2015 Shorebirds with Manomet - Yawkey Legacy

To view past blog entries about Winyah Bay click on NERR gag grouper study - Fly Fishing Hobcaw Barony - Sheepshead Slam with Gul'R'Boy Charters

View from overgrown Civil War Fort

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