Francis Marion National Forest

The Francis Marion National Forest can be found north of Charleston, South Carolina. It’s named for revolutionary war hero Francis Marion, who was known to the British as the Swamp Fox. It lies completely within the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion.

This national forest is contained completely in the counties of Charleston and Berkeley and is 258,864 acres in size. The forest contains the towns of Huger, Jamestown, McClellanville, and Awendaw. Charleston offers emergency services to the southeastern portions of the forest. The forest headquarters are found in Columbia, together with those of Sumter National Forest. There are local ranger district offices in Cordesville.

In 1989, the forest was almost destroyed by Hurricane Hugo; only the young growth made it through the storm and its aftermath. Today, the majority of the trees in the forest do not precede this hurricane.

The forest serves as a multiple use area. Recreation opportunities include rifle ranges, boat ramps, campsites, and several trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking, including the Palmetto Trail. The forest service administers wilderness areas, timber production, experimental forests, and protection and management of the wildlife and the watershed as well.

There are four officially designated wilderness areas lying within Francis Marion National Forest that are a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The areas are Wambaw Creek Wilderness, Wambaw Swamp Wilderness, Little Wambaw Swamp Wilderness, and Hell Hole Bay Wilderness.

Image Caption: Hiking trail in Francis Marion National Forest — near Charleston, South Carolina. Credit: Daniel Barcelona/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)