Francis Beidler Forest, Harleyville

The Francis Beidler Forest is an Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Four Holes Swamp, a blackwater creek system in South Carolina, United States. It consists of over 16,000 acres (65 kmĀ²) of mainly bald cypress and tupelo gum hardwood forest and swamp with approximately 1800acre of old-growth forest. It is the largest virgin stand of these trees in the world, with some trees over 1,000 years old. It is a favorite haunt of birdwatchers and is used for biological research projects by area schools.
The preserve was established to protect 1,800 acres of what was then one of only two stands of old-growth forest in South Carolina. On May 30, 2008 the forest was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1979.
The land was acquired by Francis Beidler in the 1890s, and maintained by his family after his death in 1924. On liquidation of the estate, the National Audubon Society raised the funds to acquire the land, build a boardwalk, and purchase land from surrounding farmers to ensure access. In 2003 the Audubon Society which maintains the preserve announced it had recently obtained funding with which to purchase an additional 909 acres of adjacent land to expand the preserve.
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Francis Beidler Forest Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
94 reviews
  • We visited this park on a very hot day and we are pleased to say the shade from the trees made it bearable and believe-it-or-not bugs were not a problem. The whole boardwalk was exactly the right leng...  more »
  • Nice visitor area with Audubon guides, maps and gifts opens to a 3 mile or so boardwalk loop through the Cyprus and tupelo. Easy walk on this very well maintained boardwalk with signs along the way ab...  more »

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Side trips from Harleyville

Duration: 2​h
Duration: 2​h
Duration: 2​h