Resource Management

Hdr Pic 512w

The Francis Marion National Forest harbors the 3rd largest population of the endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker in North America. Management practices to restore the woodpecker include prescribed burning, and the installation of artificial cavities to provide needed cavities for family clusters.

Resource Management on the Francis Marion National Forest

Officially designated in 1936, the Francis Marion National Forest encompasses about 280,000 acres of public lands. These lands are managed by the USDA Forest Service for multiple uses including watershed protection and improvement, timber and wood production, habitat for wildlife and fish species (including threatened and endangered ones), wilderness area management and recreation.

The Francis Marion National Forest’s four wilderness areas were established in 1980 to protect, manage and preserve natural conditions, keeping human influence to a minimum. Encompassing 13, 812 acres, Wambaw Creek, Hellhole Bay, Wambaw Swamp and Little Wambaw Swamp wilderness all offer visitors outstanding opportunities for solitude and wildlife viewing.

In the Organic Act of 1897, Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, and National Forest Management Act of 1976, Congress directed that one of the purposes of national forests should be managing the ecosystem. Trees are important to the American people for scenic quality, recreation, wood for commercial and home use, wildlife habitat and watershed protection to name a few. This includes timber harvesting and removing merchantable trees for vegetative management.  One of our multiple goals is to manage a sustainable forest capable of producing high–quality wood products in perpetuity.

Silviculture is defined as the theory and practice of controlling forest establishment, composition, structure, and growth. More simply said, silviculture is about establishing, growing and tending stands of trees. It can include such management tools as prescribe burning, scarification, chopping and thinning. Forests are managed for various objectives and vary according to the landowner’s goals, such as timber production, wildlife habitat and recreational enjoyment.


The forest provides the American people with a diverse set of outdoor recreation activities. Hiking and biking, horse riding, off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails, and paddling total 166 miles of trails. Other opportunities abound, including fishing, hunting, camping, bird watching and other wildlife viewing, picnicking and rifle ranges.

Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests 




 Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nesting on Cape Island


Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge receives the largest nesting population of Loggerhead sea turtles north of Amelia Island, Florida, averaging 1000 nests annually. Management practices include nest relocation, caging, predator control and genetic sampling. 

Resource Management at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge  
Cape Romain was established in 1932 to provide a safe haven for migratory birds and resident species. Over the years, management objectives expanded to include managing endangered and threatened species, protecting the Class I wilderness area, preserving the maritime forests, and providing wildlife-dependent recreation. A variety of management tools are used to protect and maintain wildlife and habitat and offer recreation opportunities.  

Management of Habitat 
Management of impoundment water levels: Impoundments on Bulls Island are managed to maximize food production for populations of waterfowl and shorebirds, and maintain habitat for resident species through the use of water control structures.  The structures operate with tidal surges to control water flow between the impoundments and tidal creeks. 

Preservation of maritime forest habitat: The uplands on Bulls Island are being managed to promote the growth of the maritime forest habitat. An aggressive control plan has been implemented using a variety of methods to control and eradicate invasive plant species. 

Protection of Nesting and Migratory Shorebirds
To protect nesting and migratory shorebirds, a strategy of temporary closures has been implemented. In addition to island nesting areas closed on an annual basis, in place is a system of mobile closures. Mobile closures are utilized for species who seek habitat that changes with the dynamic nature of the barrier island system. Refuge beaches provide critical habitat for birds that are listed as threatened or are of high concern, especially during the spring and fall migrations. 

Management of Endangered and Threatened Species
Cape Romain has the largest nesting population of Loggerhead sea turtles outside of Florida and, as such, implements a nest recovery project during the nesting season. Activities include nest location and relocation, caging, monitoring, predator control and genetic sampling.  The refuge oversees the husbandry program for the endangered Red wolves housed at the Sewee Visitor Center, the center being one of over 40 facilities in the nation which protect the captive population of wolves.  

Preservation of the Class I Wilderness Area
Of the refuge land areas, 29,000 acres are designated a Class I Wilderness Area and are preserved within the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Area is one of two on the east coast and is noted for its clean air and water. The refuge uses a combination of methods and equipment that least degrades the wilderness values of the land while meeting refuge objectives. 

Wildlife-Dependent Recreation
Recreation opportunities on the refuge include bird watching and other wildlife viewing, photography, shelling, salt-water fishing and hiking. On Bulls Island there are two designated hiking trails and 16 miles of unpaved service roads. Biking is allowed on the service roads.  

In order to manage the white-tailed deer population on Bulls Island, the refuge offers two archery hunts annually, one in November and the second in December. The harvest of surplus deer assist in managing the deer population at a level compatible with the environment.  

Environmental education and interpretive programs promote awareness and knowledge of refuge wildlife and habitats and are regularly scheduled at the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center. Guided interpretive tours on Bulls Island are provided by Coastal Expeditions, the contracted concession for the refuge. 

 Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge