U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

Photo of a Male Wood Duck taken by Dr. William Alexander
2125 Fort Watson Road
Summerton, SC   29148
E-mail: santee@fws.gov
Phone Number: 803-478-2217
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Male Wood Duck - Dr. Willam Alexander
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Refuge staff are available to provide both on and off-site environmental education activities for school groups and other organizations. A sample of topics covered includes wetland restoration and management, prescribed burning, migratory birds, native plants, and reptiles and amphibians.

Exhibits are available in the Visitor Center and a small classroom area is available for viewing videos and/or conducting programs and demonstrations.

The 110,000 acre Lake Marion is well known as a world class fishing lake. Several State record catches including largemouth bass, black crappie, channel and blue catfish, and warmouth were made in these waters. The lake varies from shallow swamps and black water ponds to vast open water with many underwater structures. With the refuge boundary stretching along the lake shore, excellent fishing for largemouth, white, and striped bass exists, along with good crappie, bream and catfish fishing in Black Bottom and Savannah Branch on the Cuddo Unit.

Public fishing is permitted year-round except that Cantey Bay, Black Bottom, Savannah Branch and waters within land units are closed from November 1 through February 28.

Portions of the Pine Island and Cuddo Units are open each fall for hunting of white-tailed deer using primitive weapons. Limited hunting of mourning doves, gray squirrels, and raccoon and opossum is also available each fall on the Cuddo Unit. Permits and special regulations apply; please contact the refuge office for specific information.

Wildlife Observation
With recorded observations of 296 species, it is easy to understand why the refuge is hailed as one of the best birding areas within the State. The brilliantly colored painted bunting nests here as do many other neo-tropical migrants.

Visitors also have a good chance of seeing alligators, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer. More nocturnal species such as bobcat, raccoon, and owls are rarely seen during the daytime.

Learn More>>

The visitor center is open 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday. Hours and access vary seasonally for the four refuge units, however all of them are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Cuddo Unit is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM October through February; 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM April through September. Every October the Cuddo Unit will be closed for a two week period for deer hunting. Please check with the refuge office for scheduled hours of access and special closures.

Entrance Fees
No entrance fees apply.

Use Fees
Not Required.
- Refuge Profile Page -