The Steven’s Creek Heritage Preserve is a natural preserve located in South Carolina. It is administered through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. It encompasses the area of (1.76 square kilometers 2) in McCormick County and Edgefield County. Furthermore, it was created to safeguard rare species of animals and plants. Webster’s Salamander and Miccosukee gooseberry are two of the species with a few numbers outside of the preserve. The closest center of population located in Clarks Hill, approximately two millimeters (3-4 km) towards the southwest.
The location was discovered in the year 1957 through Albert E. Radford from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He observed a remarkable diversity of the plant, herb as well as shrub layers that grew on the bluff that overlook Steven’s Creek. It also documented 6 species of plants that had not been discovered previously in South Carolina. The other five species were identified at a single South Carolina location. A number of these species were found on the property and continue to be prominent to this day. The most notable aspect in this community of plants is the fact that the palmetto, Sabal minor, occurs close to northern inland wildflowers like Asarum canadense. There are four trillium species which are present too.
What to Know
The soils of the bluffs were discovered to be typical for South Carolina. The majority of South Carolina’s soils are acidic, with a pH at or lower than 5. However, the topsoil of the preserve’s pH readings were of 7 which in the range of neutral. This is more common in the base-rich areas of Appalachian coves as well as those in the Midwest where the rare plants of South Carolina are abundant. These soils are closest with the Cartecay as well as the Toccoa series, which are sandy-textured loam Entisols. The soils along Steven’s Creek are sedimentary silt loam Inceptisols of the Riverview series. A large portion of the park, apart from the bluffs, covered with acidic sandy loam Ultisols from the Cataula, Hiwassee, Louisburg and Pacolet series, which are typical of South Carolina Piedmont. These soils in the upland support mixed pine and hardwood forests across most of the preserve, with the exception of the southwest corner, which is home to pure pine forests.