At 9,165 acres, The Nature Conservancy's Sandy Island Preserve is the largest protected freshwater island on the East Coast and TNC's largest preserve in South Carolina. Accessible only by boat, its striking scenery, beautiful trails and diverse wildlife makes it worth the trip.
Sandy Island supports numerous rare plants and other species of interest such as carnivorous pitcher plants and purple lupine. Other plants typical of South Carolina’s Sandhills Region and Outer Coastal Plain can also be found on Sandy Island. The north end, which experiences regular burning (wildfires and controlled), supports a native longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forest characterized by wide-open understories with very few hardwoods and mature trees in excess of 100 years old. Turkey oak dominates the south end, where fire has been supressed.
Among the rare species existing in Sandy Island's longleaf pine forest is the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. These birds depend upon the mature, fire-resistant pines for forage and nesting sites. Black bears also use Sandy Island as a corridor for travel.