Welcome to the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests!


Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 65-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina 

Solar Eclipse Frequently Asked Questions for Buck Hall Recreation Area

Q1: Will there be camping allowed at Buck Hall Campground during the Pre-Eclipse Weekend?

A: No, the campground will close on August 20 and will reopen on August 22. The site will open for day use only at 8:00 a.m. August 21.

Q2: Will I be able to park in the Buck Hall area overnight?

A: No, the entire Buck Hall Recreation Area will close on August 20 at 9:00 p.m., and willreopen at 8:00 am on August 21. However, once the parking lot is full, the area will ‘close.’

Q3: Will cars be directed elsewhere if the Buck Hall Recreation Area is full?

A: No, though the national forest is open we are not redirecting cars from the entrance when it becomes full. You may want to make a backup location to view in Charleston, McClellanville or Columbia.

Q4: Will the boat launch ramp be accessible on the day of the eclipse?

A: The boat ramp will be open the day of the eclipse, however, due to the limitations on parking, the area will close once we have met our maximum capacity of 150 vehicles.

Q5: Will there be parking available on Eclipse Day, Mon. Aug. 21?

A: Yes, capacity for vehicles is 150 (including boat trailers), and it will be on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Q6: Are there any other locations on the Francis Marion NF to view?

A: The entire forest will be accessible, but the viewing is very limited due to tree canopies in most areas. Here’s an interactive map to check other locations https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/

Q7: What do you have to pay for entrance to Buck Hall and what does it include?

A: The cost is $5 per vehicle, and it provides you entrance and day use of the recreation area. Some locations are charging as much as $30 per vehicle.

Q8: Are there any accommodations for Persons with Disabilities?

A: There will be a location to drop off and pick up Persons with Disabilities at the Viewing Area in Buck Hall.

Q9: Will shelter be available throughout the day?

A: No. Visitors may bring a small canopy for temporary shelter. Visitors should note that the parking area is more than 100 yards from the viewing area, and all seats, canopies and picnic supplies must be transported by hand from the parking area to the viewing area.

Q10: Will tailgate picnics be allowed in the parking area?

A: No. Visitors may transport picnic supplies to the viewing area by hand.

Q11: Will concessions be available?

A: No, everything that visitors might need for the event must be brought in at the time they enter the area.No walk-ins, or drop-offs will be allowed.

Q12: Once I have occupied my space at the viewing area, may I leave and return later?

A: No, if you must leave, re-entry is not guaranteed.

Q13: Will Sewee Visitor Center parking lot be open for viewing?

A: Yes, there is limited parking and viewing space at the Sewee Visitor Center.

Q14: Are alcoholic beverages allowed in the Buck Hall Recreation Area?

A: Yes


Solar Eclipse information for the Andrew Pickens Ranger District

The vast majority of the Andrew Pickens Ranger District, located is Oconee County, SC is tree covered.  There are few places with a wide open view of the sky. However, this may be a great opportunity to get out into the woods for a long weekend.

Developed campgrounds: All sites in developed campgrounds are limited to 8 people per campsite, unless otherwise posted. 
Cherry Hill, Whetstone, and Cassidy Bridge either partially or entirely by reservation only. 
Grapevine, Low Water, Burrell’s Ford have a “First Come, First Serve” policy and cannot be reserved. Once occupied, your party must spend the first night in the campsite and return every 24 hours.

Dispersed camping: 
This is sometimes referred to as “Backcountry Camping”.  Dispersed camping occurs outside of Developed Campgrounds and Day-Use Areas. All Dispersed camping must meet three criteria:  All camping equipment and campfires must be more than ¼ mile from a road AND at least 50 feet from a maintained trail AND at least 50 feet from a water source.

Additionally, be aware of wildlife.  Black Bears are common in Oconee County.  They will seek out food, trash, even toothpaste.  Protect your family and your belongings by storing these items in a hard roofed car OR creating a bear hang.  A proper bear-hang should be at least 10 feet off the ground and pulled at least 4 feet away from the nearest tree.  Black Bears are very good climbers.

Please practice Pack-it-In / Pack-it-Out.

All trailheads and developed recreation areas will include a bulletin board, loaded with relevant local information.  Please take a second to read and learn, what you need to know at each site. Throughout the district, campfires are prohibited within 50 feet of the water.  Fireworks are prohibited on all federal lands, including US Forest Service locations.

Crowds are expected.  Be mindful of your personal property and those people in your group. For site specific questions, please call the Stumphouse Ranger Station, 864-638-9568, Mountain Rest, SC.


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Four ranger districts in South Carolina: the Andrew Pickens, the Enoree and the Long Cane districts on the Sumter National Forest; and the Francis Marion District on the Francis Marion National Forest offer recreational activities as diverse as their terrain--whether you prefer to hike to a mountain waterfall or paddle a lowcountry swamp wilderness.

You might mountain bike the epic Forks Area Trail System on the Long Cane, or paddle and fish the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River on the Andrew Pickens district. Saddle up and explore a horse trail on any district, or unload your ATV or dirt bike and hone your skills on one of four OHV trails.

District Location MapThe Intracoastal Waterway begs to be explored from Buck Hall boat launch on the Francis Marion, or perhaps you’d prefer to paddle, hunt or fish the three rivers on the Enoree Ranger District. Nine rifle ranges will help maintain your aim for hunting season. There are hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic areas, a human-made shell ring built 4000 years ago, fishing rodeos and waterfowl hunts for youths and disabled visitors, and an environmental education center that sponsors monthly programs for kids and adults to share the wonders of both the national forest and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

Where would you like to go first? Click on the interactive map to locate the district you'd like to visit. Or click on any of the headings in the column to the left for drop-down menus and links to more detail about recreation opportunities, maps, resource management, volunteering and much more!


Upper Chattooga Boating Information

Kayak clip art

The link above will take you to the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River page, where you'll find information on float permits, links to water gauge data and more.

Francis Marion releases Record of Decision for Revised Forest Plan!

Red-cockaded woodpecker in flight

On March 31, 2017, we released the signed Record of Decision (ROD) for the Francis Marion's Revised Land Management Plan (Revised Plan) and associated Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The Notice of Approval of the Revised Plan and FEIS has also been published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2017. Please click the heading link above to view the documents.

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Francis Marion National Forest

Woodpecker/Martjan Lammertink photo

The Francis Marion is a forest literally steeped in history...

Sumter National Forest

Chattooga River

If it's a sense of adventure or a longing for solitude that you seek, the Sumter National Forest has something special waiting for you.