Crackerneck announces March dates for public entry

  • Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 6:15 p.m.

Aiken County's Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will open to the public on the first four onSaturdays during the month of March with the final Saturday, March 29, reserved for a youth turkey hunt.

The Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve is composed of 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. The area is located in Aiken County, along the Savannah River and south of the town of Jackson, off S.C. 125. Access is through the check station gate off Brown Road.

Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Maps are available at the check station where visitors sign in.

The area will be open for scouting, fishing and some other outdoor activities. All visitors must sign in before entering and sign out prior to leaving. No managed trails exist on the property. No weapons are allowed during this period.

Hunters are encouraged to utilize these open dates to scout the area prior to turkey season. Habitat changes are continually occurring due to timber harvests, prescribed burns, weather events and road construction.

Fishing will be allowed during this period. At Skinface Pond, the bass limit is two per person per day with a 14 inch minimum, catfish are five per day and the bluegill limit (30) is the same as state creel limits. Limited bank fishing opportunities are available at Skinface so a small boat is recommended. In addition, a couple of swamp lakes are accessible with small boats.

No bike trails exist at the present time. Mountain bikes are restricted to the 50 mile road system and selected firebreaks.

No hiking trail exists at present, but the 50 mile road system goes through scenic areas and is a suitable substitute. In addition, hikers can utilize a 30 mile network of firebreaks off the beaten path. For anyone entering the Savannah River swamp, a compass and/or GPS Unit is strongly recommended.

Visitors can tour the road system to observe wildlife, wild flowers, old home sites or cemeteries, forestry and wildlife management practices. The entire 50 mile road system can be ridden in under four hours. All roads, including jeep trails, are maintained.

Limited opportunities exist for canoeing in Skinface Pond or a few accessible swamp lakes. Alligators, snakes and a variety of water birds will be encountered. Access to Upper Three Runs Creek is prohibited for any reason.

Horses are limited to the 500-mile road system and selected firebreaks. Several places around Crackerneck are large enough to park several horse trailers.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources office on the Savannah River Site can be reached at 803-725-3663.

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