Tuesday maintenance closures at Botany Bay beginning June
Beginning June 2nd, Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area/Heritage Preserve on Edisto Island will be closed to the public on Tuesdays to devote adequate time to safely conduct maintenance projects.
Limiting public access will allow S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) staff to carry out necessary tasks including prescribed burns, road improvements (scraping and mowing), and tree and limb maintenance along the main road entrance and interpretive driving trail. Currently, these tasks cannot be completed due to the high volume of traffic associated with the area. DNR staff have been closely monitoring activities on Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area/Heritage Preserve (WMA/HP) since the opening of the ecologically and historically significant property in July 2008. Planned maintenance and management efforts during this weekday closure will ensure that visitors continue to have safe access and a high quality experience at Botany Bay WMA/HP during the other 6 days of the week.
Since its opening to the public last year, over 47,600 people have visited Botany Bay WMA/HP and visitation continues to increase substantially. In April alone, 6,863 people visited the property. With the upcoming summer tourist season approaching, DNR anticipates an increase in public use of this area, also factoring into the closure decision. DNR managers have determined that consistent vehicular traffic may become a potential detriment to the integrity of the area, and therefore decided that a routine closure on Tuesdays will alleviate maintenance and management concerns associated with the high level of visitation. Thus far, Tuesday is the least used day by visitors, and other activity-based locations within the vicinity, including Edisto Interpretive Center at the Edisto Beach State Park, and E.F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge are open on this day providing options for recreation.
As a complement to the maintenance tasks that will be conducted on Tuesdays, other benefits with this closure include a decrease in wildlife disturbances, a decline in fishing pressure and an opportunity for wildlife research and education to occur on the property without interruptions that cannot occur when Botany Bay WMA/HP is open to the public. Furthermore, the supportive volunteer network currently working to educate the public on proper visitation practices will have a day off. Their on-site efforts to assist with managing public use everyday have been a tremendous asset for management of the property.
Closure on Tuesdays beginning in June will provide tangible benefits to the resource, improve the overall experience of visitors, and support the overarching goal of DNR to maintain and protect the natural and cultural resources for SC.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.