Tom Yawkey, longtime owner of the Boston Red Sox, was also one of the largest land donors to the state of South Carolina. He inherited the land from an uncle and he and his wife spent winters there.
Yawkey was an avid outdoorsman and loved bird-watching. Through the years, he added to his holdings and preserved the land for wildlife.
Yawkey donated 20,000 acres of land along the shoreline in Georgetown County to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Yawkey also founded the Tara Hall Home for Boys and Georgetown Memorial Hospital in the area.
The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center includes marshes, wetlands, forests and beaches. It is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and is a habitat for migratory birds, eagles, alligators and other endangered species. The beaches are considered excellent nesting locations for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle.
The habitats support more than 200 species of birds, including a large number of raptors, such as hawks, ospreys and falcons that rest here during migration.
Hunting is not allowed on the land, but guided tours are available by reservation September through May on Tuesday and Wednesday only from 2-5 p.m. Tours are often booked months in advance.
The tours are not wheelchair accessible and there are no public facilities. You should bring your own drinking water and insect repellent.
Camping is allowed on the beaches, which are accessible only by boat. Camping requires a permit that can be issued only by mail at least two weeks in advance. Campers can stay a maximum of four nights between Sept. 16 and May 14 and must take all their trash with them.
Reach the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center near Georgetown at (843) 546-6814.