Hotelier John Meyer died on New Year’s Day, 1977. In his will, he left an enormous (4,687 acres) parcel of land called Botany Bay Plantation to the State of South Carolina, with the proviso that it would remain the property of his wife until her death. Margaret Meyer Pepper maintained (and improved) the land over the next 30 years, until her death in 2007. Late this summer, it was opened to the general public for the first time.
There are a number of places in the world called Botany Bay (and somewhat confusingly, at least to me, adjacent to the BBP property is another plot of land referred to as Botany Bay). If you are going to call something Botany Bay, it better be something special. Edisto Island’s Botany Bay Plantation certainly qualifies.
I visited the BBP Wildlife Management Area for the first time this week. It’s winter, so the visible wildlife is limited, but it’s easy to see the potential for viewing scores of species (especially birds) once the weather gets warmer. Basically, this place is a mix of an undeveloped beach (about two miles in length) and coastal wetlands, along with a forest of pine, oak, and palmetto, and some agricultural fields. It’s a natural game preserve (there will be some limited hunting and catch-and-release fishing allowed).
I’m going to go back in the spring. For now, here are some pictures I took. I’m not the most talented of photographers, and my camera is not exactly top of the line, but they give you at least a hint of what this area is like. Most of them are of the beach. Also included is a photo of a 19th-century icehouse (that looks a little like a church; the builder obviously believed in stylized icehouses).