The natural beauty of the Lowcountry is one of the main attractions to living here, and it is a gift that keeps on giving throughout a lifetime. One such place to experience the joy of the great outdoors is nearby Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. Even if you have never taken time to visit, you have likely passed it many times. Located on U.S. 17 almost exactly midway between Bluffton and Charleston it is an easy-to-reach paradise and one that offers access for whatever level of adventure you wish to enjoy.
Donnelley WMA was established in 1992 to manage an 8,000-acre tract in the heart of the ACE Basin. Donnelley contains remnants of several once-thriving plantations and embraces old rice fields, ancient swamp and wide, airy pine uplands. This unique diversity of ecosystems hosts an astounding variety of wildlife -- from migratory birds to turkey, deer and other game. Hunting is a main event at Donnelley and at times during the year the preserve is open for managed hunts of deer, turkey and other game.
One glimpse of the rich environment of Donnelley and you will easily see why this important and exciting pastime is so popular and necessary for the success of this land.
Recently a group of friends and I spent a Saturday there. We brought bicycles to explore the 10-mile loop of well-managed dirt roads and enjoyed hiking the nearly two miles of foot trails. On this sunny Saturday we came armed with cameras and enjoyed capturing shots of wildlife and the unique Lowcountry landscape that Donnelley provided. We enjoyed ringing in the Carolina springtime in the great outdoors -- amazed at such accessible beauty so close to home. No matter your level of experience, a short drive from Bluffton will net you an enjoyable hour -- or full day -- in the wild. Whether participating in a hunt, hiking a path or just viewing from your car, Donnelley will bring the wildlife and beauty of the ACE Basin right to you.
Bluffton resident Matt Richardson enjoys taking day trips with his family and exploring the Lowcountry. To see more pictures from his adventures, go to www.Flickr.com and search on the username "greenkayak73." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.