Manchester State Forest, in Sumter and Clarendon Counties, consists of approximately 28,675 acres of mixed pine and hardwood species native to the midlands of South Carolina. Soil type is light sand, interspersed with swamps and bays.
The forest is managed to yield a variety of forest products, from pulpwood and sawtimber to poles and pine straw. Stands of non-native slash pine, planted in the 1960s, are being gradually harvested and replaced with longleaf pine. In 1989 the forest was severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo. Sixty-five percent of the timber base was destroyed. Since then hundreds of acres have been salvaged and replanted.
Manchester State Forest practices principles of high quality multiple-use and sustained-yield forest management.
Multiple use management includes enhancing timber production, fish and wildlife habitat, air and water quality, soil conservation, scenic beauty, scientific research, and recreational opportunities. It does not mean that all uses must coexist at the same time. Depending on the circumstances on different parts of the forest, one use might be dominant while other uses are subordinated.
Sustained yield means assuring that the renewable resources of the forest will always be available without impairing the productivity of the land.
Operating funds for the forest, as well as a portion of salaries, are generated from the sale of timber products, land leases, Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Permits, and recreational use permits. Twenty-five percent of the Forest's gross income is paid to Sumter County for use in the local school district.
Maps currently being updated.
WMA hunting permit required
Manchester State Forest is included in the Wildlife Management Area (pdf) Program through a cooperative agreement between the Department of Natural Resource and the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Hunting seasons and regulations for Manchester State Forest are published in the Department of Natural Resources Rules and Regulations Brochures. Maps of the hunting areas on Manchester are available at the forest headquarters.
All persons must wear orange on WMAs
A law passed in May 2015 requires deer hunters to wear international orange on all South Carolina wildlife management areas (WMAs). Specifically, the act requires "All nonexempt persons must wear a hat, coat, or vest of solid international orange while on Wildlife Management Area lands during deer hunting season.”
WMA regulations exempt persons hunting for dove, turkey, ducks, geese, and other migratory birds including crow from the requirement of wearing international orange. All other persons on a WMA during deer season
must wear international orange."
A list and graphic of all South Carolina WMAs can be found at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wma/
State fishing license required
There are four ponds and several creeks on the forest which are available to the public for year-round fishing. Only electric motors are allowed on the ponds.
Emergency Call Boxes
Manchester has installed three Emergency Call Boxes for trail users in the event of an emergency. There have been several accidents on the recreation trails, especially in the OHV area, and cell phone service is very poor in the Manchester area so the boxes were seen as a remedy for this communication problem in the event of emergencies.
When the button on the call box is pressed, the call goes directly to the Sumter County 911 Dispatch. The Dispatcher can communicate back with the caller and get emergency help as needed. Only emergency calls to the Dispatch Center can be made on these boxes. To make an emergency call press the button in the lower right corner of the box.
Starting April 4, 2009, the rifle and pistol range will be open on Saturdays 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM and Sundays from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM.
For further information contact :
Manchester State Forest
6740 Headquarters Road
Wedgefield, SC 29168
Phone: (803) 494-8196
Forest Director: Harvey Belser
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester office hours:
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Manchester Rifle & Pistol Range - 803-494-4885
Forest Recreation / Reference Resources / Forest Management