Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Quick Facts

White Ibis. Credit: Barry Lowes, USFWS

White Ibis. Credit: Barry Lowes, USFWS

Jane Griess - Project Leader
Shaw Davis - Deputy Project Leader
U.S. Highway 278
Bluffton, SC


  • Established: 1975
  • Acres: 4,053 acres, approximately 2,700 acres of this is saltmarsh and tidal creeks.
  • Four islands; Corn, Little Harry, Big Harry and Pinckney Island.  The latter, approximately 1,200 acres, is the largest of the islands and the only one open to the public.
  • Open to the public since 1985
  • The refuge entrance is 1/2 mile west of Hilton Head Island, SC off of U.S. Highway 278.  The island lies between Skull Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) and Mackay Creek.  The island's northern tip faces Port Royal Sound.
  • Large concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets, as well as wading bird rookeries and osprey nests can be found on the refuge.
  • Two of the island's freshwater ponds were ranked in the top twenty wading bird colony sites of the South Carolina coastal plain during 1989 and 1996.
  • Waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors and neo-tropical migrants are commonly seen on the refuge.
  • An active bald eagle nest is located on the refuge. Consequently, bald eagles are not an uncommon sight.

Financial Impact of Refuge

  • Pinckney Island is part of a seven-refuge complex that has an annual budget of $3,434,000 (FY 2006) and a combined staff of 29, none of which are assigned specifically to this refuge.
  • Approximately 300,000 visitors annually.

Refuge Objectives

  • To protect and provide habitat for endangered and threatened species.
  • To provide and maintain habitat for migratory and resident birds that utilize and or nest annually on the refuge.
  • To provide, enhance and maintain habitat for native wildlife.
  • To promote wildlife interpretive and recreational opportunities.

Management Tools

  • One annual deer quota hunt.
  • Prescribed burning.
  • Water management for wading bird rookeries.
  • Mechanical/chemical control of undesirable and/or invasive plant species.
  • Partnerships.

Public Use Opportunities

  • Hiking and biking trails
  • Wildlife observation
  • Photography
  • Two one-day deer hunts
  • Interpretive tours offered by special use permit holders (visit the "Recreation Opportunities" page for more information)


Last updated: April 20, 2009