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Sumter National Forest

Sumter National Forest - BEST Places to PicnicThe Sumter National Forest is one of two forests in South Carolina that are managed together by the United States Forest Service, the other being the Francis Marion National Forest. 

The Sumter National Forest consists of 370,442 acres which are divided into several non-contiguous sections in western South Carolina. Overall, in descending order of land area the forest is located in parts of Oconee, Union, Newberry, McCormick, Edgefield, Abbeville, Laurens, Chester, Fairfield, Greenwood, and Saluda counties. 

Forest headquarters of both South Carolina forests are located together in the state's capital city of Columbia.


In July, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the Sumter a separate National Forest. The Sumter is named for Thomas Sumter, a leader of rebel partisan forces in the South Carolina piedmont during the American Revolution and war hero. 

The lands that became the Sumter were predominantly eroding old farm fields and gullies or extensively logged forests. Once the lands became part of the Sumter, the process of controlling soil erosion, regulating the flow of streams and the production of timber began. 

Over time, the land has been slowly restored and has become productive again.

Andrew Pickens Ranger District

The Andrew Pickens Ranger District is situated in the mountains of northwest South Carolina in Oconee County. Local place names and streams attest the Cherokee Indian heritage of the area, including the Chattooga, Chauga, Cheohee, Tugaloo, Toxaway, Keowee, Oconee, Tamassee, and Jocassee rivers or creeks. 

The Ranger District is named for Andrew Pickens, commander of South Carolina rebel militia during the American Revolution. The ranger district offices are located in Mountain Rest.


The Sumter National Forest includes approximately 2,859 acres of the Ellicott Rock Wilderness, the only wilderness to straddle three states (South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina). 

The Sumter also has, as its western border, the Chattooga River, a Wild and Scenic River. The Andrew Pickens District is also home to 15 waterfalls with drops ranging from 12 feet to 75 feet.

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