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 to those who had limited mobility and difficulty exploring the island on foot.
In another example of a public-private partnership involving the Friends, the Foundation, and the Service, there is now expanded programming and access for all visitors including the elderly, very young and mobility impaired. These services 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
- Roving docent at key locations
- Water (during tours) on very hot days
- Pinckney Island NWR visitor information
- Loan binoculars on tours
- Loan blankets (colder days) on tours
- Accessibility - The electric shuttle is easy to get onto (two low steps) and the tours do not require walking. 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.
- Pets: Not allowed
- Water : There is no water on the refuge. You are advised to wear appropriate shoes and clothing and bring water, sunblock, and insect repellent as needed for the season.