From its outset, Sand Hills State Forest has been operated as “a demonstration conservation area, embodying the principles and objectives of multiple-use management.”
Located in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties, Sand Hills State Forest is characterized by generally arid, infertile, sandy soils. Ninety-two thousand acres of this land were purchased by the federal government in the 1930s as part of the Federal Resettlement Administration’s program to move families from worn-out farms to more productive land. Half of this tract became the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, while half was leased to South Carolina for use as a state forest.
Between 1939 and 1991 the South Carolina Forestry Commission managed the 46,000-acre state forest and handled timber practices on the adjacent wildlife refuge as well. Through the early 1940s the Civilian Conservation Corps contributed manpower and expertise to develop the property. In 1991 the Forestry Commission was granted fee-simple title to the forest.
From its outset, Sand Hills State Forest has been operated as “a demonstration conservation area, embodying the principles and objectives of multiple-use management.” Part of the long-range goal was to provide local jobs and stimulate local industry through forest production. Throughout the years traditional forest products such as sawlogs, poles, and pulpwood have been harvested from the forest. Other products, including pine tar, turpentine, fence posts, and pine straw, have played important economic roles at various times since 1939.
Sand Hills State Forest has been totally self-supporting since 1967. As was the case with all South Carolina state forests into the early twenty-first century, twenty-five percent of the income generated from Sand Hills was paid to the county school system in lieu of property taxes.