The Black River flows through the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. The headwaters originate in Lee County south of the town of Bishopville and the river flows southeasterly through the counties of Sumter, Clarendon, and Williamsburg for 150 miles as it makes its way to join with the Great Pee Dee River in Georgetown County.
This is a free-flowing blackwater river shouldered by a ribbon of dense, undisturbed swamp forest. The water has a dark inky black color due to chemicals known as tannins leached from tree leaves and other organic material decomposing in the surrounding swamps. This river has white sandbars at low water levels and unique alternating ‘lake-like’ and ‘narrow’ river areas. This ribbon of wild and undeveloped land provides high quality habitat for a variety of plant and animal species including some rare, threatened and endangered species such as American chaffseed and the swallow-tailed kite.
In 1999, the Williamsburg Hometown Chamber Quality of Place Committee requested that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) consider the Black River for inclusion in the State Scenic River Program. In the Spring of 2000, DNR staff initiated an eligibility study of the Black River in Clarendon, Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties. Public meetings held in October 2000 revealed significant local interest for conserving the unique and outstanding resources of the Black River. The Williamsburg, Clarendon and Georgetown County Councils adopted resolutions of support for the designation. In June 2001, a 75-mile segment of the Black River became South Carolina's seventh and longest State Scenic River. This scenic river segment begins at County Road #40 in Clarendon County, and extends southeast through Williamsburg County to Pea House Landing at the end of County Road #38 in Georgetown County, South Carolina.
The purpose of the South Carolina Scenic Rivers Program is to conserve unique and outstanding river resources throughout South Carolina. To accomplish this goal, the program employs a voluntary, cooperative community-based process, which allows landowners, community interests and the DNR to work together towards common river conservation goals.
Leadership for the Black Scenic River Project comes from the Black Scenic River Advisory Council, which represents local landowners, river users, community interests, and SCDNR. The first major task of the advisory council is the creation of a management plan. This plan will be created using an open community-based process where local citizens identify their vision and goals for the river, discuss and define issues of concern, and then seek resolutions to achieve their vision. Once the management plan is completed it will become the guide for ongoing activities for the advisory council.
Black Scenic River Advisory Council, 2009
Educate, protect, conserve, and be an advocate for the well being of the river through open, fact-based communication with interested individuals and corporate partners. The Scenic Black River Advisory Council promotes stewardship and long-range planning for the sustainable development of wildlife habitats in order to enhance native and natural beautification design.
Advisory Council Meetings:
All advisory council meetings are open to the public and are currently held biannually in Kingstree. You will need to contact Bill Marshall for the time and place of the meeting.
- Bobby Reardon - Clarendon County Landowner
- Jessie Dale McCollough - Williamsburg County Landowner
- Mike Tisdale - Williamsburg County Landowner
- Joel Player - Williamsburg County Landowner
- Vacant - Georgetown County Landowner
- Eileen T. Maness - Community Interest- Clarendon County
- Frances McClary - Community Interest - Williamsburg County
- Dan Scheffing - Georgetown County
- Nicky Kellahan- Corporate Community Interest and Landowner
- Bill Marshall - SCDNR staff
- Marion Evens – Clarendon County Landowner Alternate
- Vacant - Local Historian-Williamsburg County Landowner Alternate
- Vacant - Georgetown County Landowner Alternate
- Vacant - Clarendon County Council
- Richard Treme - Williamsburg County Council
- Sel Hemingway – Georgetown County Council
- Leslee Spivey - Chamber of Commerce
- Joe Watkins - Riparian Landowner
- Vacant - Riparian Landowner
- Amanda Ley - SCDHEC
- Mike Ney - SCFC
- Nick Roark - Biological consultant
- Louis Drucker - Wildlife Action
- Scott Lamprecht - SCDNR Fish Biologist
- Vacant - SC Conservation District Representative
- Trinette Vereen - USDA-NRSC
Recreational Opportunities and Access
- Highway 40 bridge over the Black - throw-in for paddle craft only
- Highway 50 bridge landing – Brewington- on the Pogotalico River – public landing for motorized or non motorized water-craft.
- Highway 35 Bridge Landing- Private unimproved (dirt) landing
- Gilland Memorial Park Public Landing- Kingstree
- Mill Street Public Landing- Kingstree
- Highway 377 Bridge Throw-in, paddle craft only- stay on highway right-of-way
- Highway 30 Bridge Throw-in, paddle craft only- stay on highway right-of-way
- Ervin Public Landing- Bloomingvale
- Reds Public Landing- Highway 41 in Andrews
- Pumphouse Public Landing- Andrews
- Pine Tree Public Landing- Highway 38 in Georgetown County
- Pea House Public Landing- Highway 38 in Georgetown County
Black Scenic River Project Manager
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
Local Contacts for the Black River Information and Accommodations:
Williamsburg Hometown Chamber of Commerce
130 East Main Street
Kingstree, SC 29556
P.O. Box 4639
Pinopolis, SC 29469