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Manchester State Forest

Manchester State Forest has something for everybody. Spanning Clarendon and Sumter counties, Manchester's more than 28,000 acres of mixed pine and hardwoods offer some of the finest outdoor recreation anywhere in the state. In addition to containing a Wildlife Management Area for all kinds of hunting, Manchester features horseback riding, walking and bike trails, pond fishing, picnic areas and even a rifle and pistol range.

Fall colors on MSF pond

About Manchester

Manchester State Forest practices principles of high quality multiple-use and sustained-yield forest management. Multiple-use management includes enhancing timber production, fish and wildlife habitat, air and water quality, soil conservation, scenic beauty, scientific research and recreational opportunities.
Sustained yield means assuring that the renewable resources of the forest will always be available without impairing the productivity of the land. Manchester State Forest is managed to yield a variety of forest products, from pulpwood and sawtimber to poles and pine straw.
The predominant soil type is light sand, interspersed with swamps and bays. Stands of non-native slash pine, planted in the 1960s, are being gradually harvested and replaced with longleaf pine. In 1989 the forest was severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo. Sixty-five percent of the timber base was destroyed. Since then hundreds of acres have been salvaged and replanted.

Of special note
Like all the state forests managed by the South Carolina Forestry Commission, Manchester State Forest receives no state appropriations from the General Assembly and is 100% self-sustaining. Operating funds for the forest, as well as salaries, are generated from the sale of timber products, land leases, Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permits and recreational use permits.
Additionally, Manchester State Forest pays 25% of its gross income to the local school districts in the counties in which the forest is located.

Things to do

Permits

Palmetto Trail on MSF
Manchester is host to three different sections of the Palmetto Trail, which runs through the middle of the forest.

You will need a permit for any activity other than hiking at Manchester State Forest; this includes using the rifle/pistol range and riding horses, ATVs, motorcycles and bicycles. Permits are not required for hikers using the trails.

Boating / fishing

There are four ponds and several creeks available to the public for year-round fishing. Only electric motors are allowed on the ponds. A valid state freshwater fishing license is required to fish on Manchester State Forest. Fishing licenses can be purchased online through the SC Department of Natural Resources’ Online Customer Service Portal.

Hunting

Manchester State Forest, along with a non-contiguous tract called Oak Lea, are included in the SC Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program as part of a cooperative agreement between SCDNR and the SC Forestry Commission. SCDNR sets and regulates the methods of harvest, bag limits and other requirements for hunting on WMA lands, including Manchester and Oak Lea.
Please visit Manchester State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including maps, safety precautions and rules and regulations.

Horseback riding

Manchester is host to three different sections of the Palmetto Trail, which runs through the middle of the forest. Parts of the Palmetto Trail can be ridden by horse, as can other trails throughout the forest. Separate trails have been designated for horses and motorcycles/ATVs.
Please visit Manchester State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including maps, safety precautions and rules and regulations.

Off-highway-vehicle (OHV) riding

Dirt bike race at MSF

Manchester State Forest offers a large area with three different trails for OHV riding, which is open to motorcycles and all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs). All OHV trails are marked with directional arrows. OHV riders must wear a helmet, and bikes must be equipped with a spark arrester; riding motorcycles or ATVs on roads is unlawful.
Please visit Manchester State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including maps, safety precautions and rules and regulations.

Bicycling

Manchester State Forest is a beautiful setting for bike-riding on the trails. Please visit Manchester State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including maps, safety precautions and rules and regulations.

Rifle and pistol range

Manchester also has an outdoor rifle and pistol range operated by temporary employees. The range consists of a 50-yard pistol range and a 100-yard rifle range. Both ranges have covered benches and an on-duty range safety officer.
Please visit Manchester State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including hours, safety precautions and rules and regulations.


Manchester State Forest is managed on the public’s behalf by the South Carolina Forestry Commission. For more information or questions, please contact Manchester State Forest Director James Douglas at jdouglas@scfc.gov or (803) 494-8196.

Manchester State Forest
6740 Headquarters Road
Wedgefield, SC 29168
Phone: (803) 494-8196
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. / 1-4 p.m.

Manchester Rifle & Pistol Range: (803) 494-4885