More than 3,400 acres along Lake Wateree have now been dedicated as a new public recreation area in Kershaw County.
State dignitaries and wildlife officials dedicated the Austin Sheheen Sr. Natural Resources Area on Friday near the relatively young Liberty Hill Wildlife Management Area near the Kershaw and Lancaster county border.
Located across the lake from Lake Wateree State Park, the new area will be managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and will be open for public recreation, including hiking, hunting, bird watching and fishing. DNR bought the property as part of a larger 8,000-acre purchase from The Conservation Fund last year. The $4.5 million purchase at the time was the largest undeveloped shoreline remaining on the Midlands lake south of Great Falls. The property was originally going to be developed into a residential neighborhood prior to the 2008 housing market collapse.
“DNR is extremely excited to continue our 75-year tradition of providing public lands to South Carolinians through the acquisition of this 3,400-acre parcel,” DNR Director Alvin Taylor said in an opening ceremony last week. “It will provide a wealth of hunting and fishing opportunities as well as protect the beautiful viewshed of Lake Wateree, and we are truly grateful for our dedicated conservation partners for helping us to achieve this conservation success.”
The tract is named in memory of the former Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce president and dedicated public servant Austin Sheheen.
“We are keeping safe a precious gift from God,” his grandson State Sen. Vincent Sheheen said. “100 years from now, the children and grandchildren of South Carolina will stand on the banks of Lake Wateree and say, ‘‘Job well done.'”
Its protection was made possible with funding from the South Carolina Conservation Bank, the SC Heritage Trust Fund, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program and Kershaw County and Lancaster County Water Recreation Trust Funds.
To visit this amazing property or learn more about WMA opportunities in your area, go to https://www2.dnr.sc.gov/ManagedLands/.