SAND HILLS STATE FOREST
Since its aquisition, Sand Hills has been used as a demonstration area for forest management. During the early years, the objective was to restore the land, to allow it to heal from erosion and misuse, and to protect it from the wildfires that burned annually.
Beginning in the early 1960's, with the lands healing, the Forestry Commission undertook an active forest management program. In recent years, attention has been given to restore native longleaf pines.
An active prescribed burning program reduces fuel accumulation, perpetuates the longleaf pines, and stimulates the production of seed bearing plants for wildlife food.
The Forest is a self-sustaining branch of the Forestry Commission operating entirely on receipts from the forest. In addition, Darlington and Chesterfield counties receive 25% of the Forest's receipts. This 25% is divided between the two counties based on the percent of the Forest in each county.
Part of a unique ecosystem, the Sand Hills State Forest is located between the piedmont and coastal plain of South Carolina in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties. The region is characterized by deep sands with generally arid conditions. It consists of 46,000 acres of infertile sand deposited by a prehistoric sea.
During the years 1935-1939 the federal government purchased this area from many local landowners as a relief measure under the Resettlement Administration. These landowners were resettled on more fertile land elsewhere.
The land was managed as a state forest by the S.C. Forestry Commission under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior from 1939 until 1991 when title was transferred to the state.
Because wildfires, improper logging and poor farming practices had almost eliminated timber production, an intensive reforestation project was initiated. In conjunction with the reforestation effort, a wildlife management program was started to improve habitat. As a result of such efforts, the once barren sand hills now support a large inventory of timber and a variety of game and non-game species.