Natural attraction a step away from Walterboro

      WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) - A nature's gem is located just steps away from Walterboro's main historic district.

      What was previously known as the Great Swamp Sanctuary has been renamed as Walterboro's Wildlife Sanctuary. City Council approved the name change earlier this year.

      City Manager Jeffrey Lord says the name better fits because it really isn't swamp-like in the sanctuary.

      "Most of they year it is dry except for the streams," he said.

      Lord also pointed out that there is another greater swamp and this would brand the attraction with the city's identity. In fact, he says the sanctuary makes up more than a quarter of Walterboro.

      "It's really tucked into our community," he noted.

      The sanctuary has more than 800 acres of braided creek and hardwood swamp flats located in the ACE Basin. It is also the East Coast's largest estuarine preserve.

      There are newer boardwalks, and another one in the works, as well as biking and hiking trails.

      "It's just a neat little place for people to come and get away," Lord said.

      According to the city of Walterboro's website, the sanctuary draws an estimated 150,000 visitors each year.

      Lord says the city continues to look at expanded use with the sanctuary. As soon as this summer, there could be an additional boardwalk added.

      Also in the works is a 10,000-square-foot Discovery Center that is currently being planned for the sanctuary. It will include a theater, gift shop, multi-purpose classroom, and a cutting-edge exhibition center.

      This nature escape is free admission and is open daily from dawn to dusk.

      The front entrance is located at 399 Detreville Street.