Hitchcock Woods is privately owned and managed by the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, funded by donor support.
The Foundation was established by the Hitchcock family in 1939 to protect and maintain the Woods for the enjoyment of the Aiken community.
Today, Hitchcock Woods is the largest privately owned urban forest in the country, about 2.5 times the size of Central Park. Equestrians, hikers, runners, dog walkers, and bird watchers enjoy the 70 miles of sandy trails that provide access to a variety of ecosystems.
• Protected the Woods from threats of mining, timbering and residential development.
• Expanded the original Hitchcock family gift of 1,190 acres of land to 2,100 acres today.
• Established a management plan resulting in a healthier and more resilient forest and the comeback of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
• Secured National Register of Historic Places, Heritage Trust Preserve, and Safe Harborw protections for the Woods.
• Preserved the century old Aiken Horse Show tradition started by Mrs. Hitchcock.
• Conducted an archaeological survey to preserve our Woods heritage.
• Received Angel recognition by the SC Secretary of State for exemplifying efficient and effective nonprofit charitable work.
Current priorities include:
• Working with the city to stop the damage to the Woods caused by city stormwater.
• Endowing the Foundation to sustain and ensure our future work.
• Engaging current and future generations in the stewardship of this resource.
Did you know? The Hitchcock Family’s gift of land did not come with an endowment. The Woods receives no operating support from municipal, county, state or federal taxes.