Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP)
Pinckney Island NWR, established December 4, 1975, was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent lawyer active in South Carolina politics from 1801 to 1815. Few traces of the island's plantation life in the 1800's exist today. The 4,053-acre refuge includes Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big Harry and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks. Pinckney is the largest of the islands and the only one open to public use. Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks. A wide variety of land types are found on Pinckney Island alone: salt marsh, forestland, brushland, fallow field and freshwater ponds. In combination, these habitats support a diversity of bird and plant life.
Studying, viewing and photographing the island's wildlife and scenery are popular activities throughout the year. Over fourteen miles of trails are open to hiking and bicycling. No motorized vehicles are allowed north of the public parking lot. The refuge entrance is located on U.S. 278, 18 miles east of Hardeeville, South Carolina or 0.5 miles west of Hilton Head Island.
Pinckney Island NWR is one of seven refuges administered by the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex. This chain of national wildlife refuges extends from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR near Darien, Georgia. Between these lie Savannah (the largest unit in the complex), Wassaw, Tybee, Harris Neck, and Blackbeard Island refuges. Together they span a 100-mile coastline and total nearly 57,000 acres. The Savannah Coastal Refuges are administered from headquarters located in Savannah, Georgia.