THE R.J. REYNOLDS WILDLIFE REFUGE:
The R. J. Reynolds Wildlife Refuge is
operated by the Department of Natural Resources Game and Fish Division.
It occupies more than 10,000 acres mostly to the north of the fence which
crosses the island from the vicinity of the Post Office across to
the East Perimeter Road not far from the First African Baptist Church
in the Hog Hammock Community. The land was purchased in 1969 from
Mrs. Annemarie Reynolds with funds obtained from State (25%) and Federal
(75%) sources (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Restoration
Its prime purpose is to manage the populations
within its boundaries, with the emphasis on deer and turkey as big
game, as well as management of small and non-game species. Deer
herds are managed by organized hunts, bow and arrow (adult); and conventional
(parent/child). The turkeys are provided with appropriate habitat,
and when the numbers are adequate, are transported to the mainland
to restock areas where they have been depleted.
To this end, a timber management plan
for the island has been instituted, old pine forests are being thinned
to allow light to penetrate to the forest floor to enhance wildlife habitat.
Modification of a number of areas is occurring, with the aim of improving
standing stocks of the managed species. Oak hammock will not
be modified, but the lowland hardwoods of the duckpond and Bell Marsh
areas will be managed to enhance forest wildlife habitat. The longleaf/slash
pine habitat is to undergo prescribed burning on a three year rotation,
and the open areas, such as those around King Savannah, will be mowed
and/or burnt and planted with such appropriate species as Bahia Grass.
The plan calls for an eighty-year rotation of pine growth, with 10-15%
of the island open field habitat, 60-65% managed pine timber areas, and
20-30% left in its natural state (oak hammock and lowland hardwood).
The D.N.R. office is housed in Long Tabby
(J), which was, for a short time, the residence of the Coffins while
they were rebuilding the South End house. Close by this building
are the ruins of the old sugar mill built by Thomas Spalding.
The D.N.R. runs the ferries, Annemarie
and Sapelo Queen, providing passenger transport to and from the island.