Explore a black water wonderland through a double-feature Field Trip to the Webb Wildlife Center's canoe and nature trails, both within shouting distance of the Savannah River in Hampton County. The Webb Center, one of the sites featured in the South Carolina Nature Viewing Guide, is a facility owned and managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to provide wildlife habitat and opportunities for public recreation.
Reach the Webb Center via SC Highway 20 from Garnett, following the "brown binoculars" signs that indicate nature-viewing areas.
Be aware that you enter an area managed for creatures, rather than for creature comforts: insect repellent and a watchful eye for snakes are recommended.
The entrance road lies 2.7 miles from Garnett, and a left turn leads visitors down an oak-shaded passage to the Webb Center's complex of buildings. Named for the late James W. Webb, former director of the state's wildlife agency, the 5,866 acres encompass upland pine stands that host endangered species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers, as well as wildlife openings, bottomland hardwood forests and cypress-tupelo swamps. The drive into the center passes through part of the upland pine woods, and white rings encircling some of the trees denote woodpecker nest-cavity sites. With 40 miles of roads and trails offering access for observing wildlife, the choices are diverse, but this Field Trip will travel generally south, toward the Savannah River.
The road leads past the Webb Center office, the lodge, which served as the plantation house for a race-horse training farm before the state acquired the property in 1941, and several outbuildings. If you visit during the week, (Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30), drop in at the office for a map and rest room stop. A map isn't necessary, but if your visit falls on the weekend and you want one, a clipboard hanging outside the door of the check station (behind the lodge) usually holds a few. Take the gravel road and follow the brown-and-white Bluff Lake directional signs. This road passes between wildlife openings where you may spot wild turkeys and white-tailed deer in early mornings and late evenings. Deer stands along the road get use from October through December, when access to the Webb Center is restricted on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays because of scheduled hunts.