The Santee National Wildlife Refuge was established
in 1941 to mitigate the impacts of developing the lake system on the Santee River. Right
now we’re about 15,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and hiking trails and canoe
trails. We have hunting and fishing opportunities for the public. It’s a huge birding facility
for birders and wildlife, migratory birds in particular. That was one of the main reasons
why it was established, along with threatened and endangered species and public recreation.
There is a seven mile wildlife drive on the Cuddo Unit, it’s about 15,000 acres total,
the Cuddo Unit is about 3,700 acres. It goes through bottomland hardwoods swamps and forest
lands, deciduous forests, pinelands and open fields. At Santee, it’s a great opportunity
for anybody who would like to do photography to get out and see birds, to enjoy the waterfowl,
the wildlife. There’s a lot of deer here. It’s a bird sanctuary, so a lot of the wildlife
is tame and it’s used to people driving around and sometimes walking around. We have one
of the fanciest little birds in the country, it’s called the Painting Bunting, and it looks
like a rainbow with wings. Right now Santee is a great secret. A lot of people don’t know
a whole lot about Santee and the opportunities that exist here.