Pinckney Island NWR, located at the door step to Hilton Head Island, SC, is the most visited of the seven refuges in the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex. It is a beautiful refuge for hiking, biking, and wildlife observation and photography. There is however, no automobile access to the refuge's miles of trails, which severely limits some visitors ability to explore this treasure right in our midst.
After discussion of this problem with the US F&WS, the Friends applied for and was awarded a generous grant from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for Pinckney Island NWR Visitor Programs and Accessibility Project. This grant enabled the Friends to purchase a 15-seat electric shuttle, bicycles, binoculars, informational brochures, tables/chairs and improved signage that we could use to provide guided tours of Pinckney Island NWR for the general public and for those who have limited mobility and difficulty exploring the island on foot.
The tours are offered without charge to the public.
Pinckney Island NWR web page - See Pinckney
Wikipedia web page - See Background Info
The programs and services include:
- Guided electric shuttle and bike nature tours
- Guided nature tours for groups with accessibility challenged members
- Special use programs (e.g. USCB Saltmarsh Class to sample marshes on Pinckney Island)
- Registration required for all tours
- Pinckney Island NWR visitor information: maps, brochures, bird/butterfly sheets, etc.
- Water on very hot days on tours
- Loan binoculars on tours
- Loan blankets (colder days) on tours
- Provide bug spray
- Roving docent at key locations
- Accessibility - The electric shuttle is easy to get onto (two low steps). The tours have some walking BUT you may stay on the shuttle with the shuttle driver. The shuttle driver, upon request, will pick you up and drop you off at your vehicle.
- Personal Items: There is no room for wheelchairs, carriages, coolers or any other large objects on the shuttle. These items may be left in your vehicle.
- Bathrooms: There are no bathrooms available, sorry.
- Children: The tours are for adults. Children are discouraged even if they are very well behaved.
- Pets: Not allowed.
- Water: There is no water on the refuge.
- Clothing: You are advised to wear appropriate shoes/clothing and bring water, sunblock, and insect repellent as needed for the season.
- Hazards: Be aware of alligators and red ants.