Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

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Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Terns on Cape Island.JPG
Map showing the location of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Location Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Nearest city Awendaw
Coordinates 32°59′33″N 79°33′50″W / 32.99250°N 79.56389°W / 32.99250; -79.56389Coordinates: 32°59′33″N 79°33′50″W / 32.99250°N 79.56389°W / 32.99250; -79.56389
Area 66,287 acres (26,825 ha)
Established 1932
Visitors 154,000 (in 2010)
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is a 66,287 acre (267 km²) National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern South Carolina near Awendaw, South Carolina. The refuge lands and waters encompass water impoundments, creeks and bays, emergent salt marsh and barrier islands. 29,000 acres (120 km2) are designated as Class I Wilderness. Most of the refuge is only accessible by boat. Mainland facilities include the refuge's headquarters and visitor center which are located on U.S. Highway 17 about 30 minutes by car from Charleston, South Carolina.

Established in 1932 as a haven for migratory birds, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is additionally managed for the protection of threatened and endangered species such as the loggerhead sea turtle, wood stork, and piping plover. Every year loggerhead sea turtles bury their eggs on three of the refuge's barrier islands. The refuge supports approximately 23% of the northern subpopulation of loggerhead sea turtles, the largest north of Florida. For the past 30 years refuge employees have helped loggerhead turtles survive by identifying nests that are in areas subject to overwash and inundation, and moving them to a safer area on the island.

In years past, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge was the site of three lighthouses. Bulls Bay Light was located on Bulls Island, a 4,900 acres (20 km2) barrier island that is the largest of the barrier islands that are part of the refuge. Regular ferry service to Bulls Island is provided by a private charter service at Garris Landing. Although Bulls Bay Light was lost to the sea years ago, two historic lighthouses still remain on the refuge, both on Lighthouse Island. The Cape Romain Lighthouses are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sewee Visitor & Environmental Education Center[edit]

The Sewee Center features displays about the various ecosystems, wildlife and heritage of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Exhibits include the marine ecosystems of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the forest Center. Other facilities include a classroom/lab, an auditorium with an orientation film, information station, a book store, picnic area and trails. The Center is jointly operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, and offers nature education programs and activities.

The South Eastern Wildlife and Environment Education Association (SEWEE Association) is the Friends Group for the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and for the Francis Marion National Forest. The SEWEE Association supports the education and conservation activities for the refuge and the forest.

External links[edit]