The Nature Conservancy protects sensitive environmental areas and protects natural habitats around the world. There are several protected lands in South Carolina. Not all of these areas of management are open to the public; however, there are three protected areas in different parts of the state that are accessible to the public. The Heihe Nature Reserve, the Peach Tree Rock Heritage Reserve and the Nine Time Protected Area are popular areas for wildlife watching and other outdoor activities.
In the lowlands near Georgetown, the Heihe Reserve covers an area of 1,736 acres. The area close to the coast is one of the best canoe and kayak destinations in the state. The Black River flows through floodplain forests and towering cypress trees. The area is popular with fishermen and birdwatchers. Birds found in protected areas include ducks, woodpeckers and original snoringbirds. The Heihe Sanctuary is an important breeding ground for swallowtail kites, an endangered black and white raptor. The access to the sanctuary is just off Highway 41 near Andrewstown.
A smaller protected area open to the public is the 460-acre Peachtree Rock Heritage Reserve in Sandhills. The reserve is named after an unusual sandstone formation, similar to an inverted pyramid. The lower layer of the formation corrodes at a faster rate than the upper layer, making its appearance unstable. It is forbidden to climb on the peach tree rock. In addition to Taoshuyan, the hotel also has a small waterfall. Visitors can walk 5 miles and 1.5 miles through the sanctuary. A variety of plant communities were found on the protected area and various birds were observed. The property was previously a research facility at the Department of Biology at the University of South Carolina. The Peachtree Heritage Reserve is located a few miles southwest of Columbia, near Edwardtown.
The 9-hour sanctuary is a beautiful 560-acre site in the Upper State area near Pickenstown. The reserve is located at the intersection of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Piedmont. One side of the hotel is bordered by Nine Time Creek and features unique rock outcrops and five mountain ranges. This is an important biological property of plant communities and wildlife habitats. The reserve records more than 100 wildflowers. A new 1.7-mile hiking trail is popular among birdwatchers, who can observe a variety of songbirds, tanagers, Vilnius, indigo bunting and eastern mops. This mountain is also the home of the black bear. The reservation is located on the E Preston McDaniel road.