MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Marlboro County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Crooked Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Bennettsville.
“We want to be able to share the birds and the nature with other people,” said Director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, Jennifer Gordon. “There’s really nothing in the area like it.”
Hanson Aggregates donated approximately 200 acres of reclaimed mine property to the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.
Rehabilitated ducks were released into the sanctuary on Thursday, but Gordon said there are thousands of animals on the property.
“There’s a lot of different species of birds, there’s also reptiles, alligators,” she said. “There’s a lot of alligators on this property.”
Marlboro County Administrator, Ron Munnerlyn, said he hopes the sanctuary will boost ecotourism.
“We feel like eventually this will become a destination for folks that are coming through going to the beach or even just coming down for a day trip,” said Munnerlyn.
Gordon said the former mining site offers several different natural habitats.
“We’ve designed different habitats,” explained Gordon. “We have an entire section that we’ve set up as a quail habitat, and we’re actually even setting up a habitat for bees here,” she continued. “It’s kind of unique that it has all of these habitats in one place so no matter what animal we’re rehabilitating, we have a space for it here.”
Gordon said the sanctuary will open to the public next year, but visitors can schedule visits this year.