Welcome to the Friends of Lewis Ocean Bay Website

Mission Statement:

The Friends of Lewis Ocean Bay (FLOB) strive to raise public awareness of the important endemic natural communities and rare species found on the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve (LOBHP), a heritage preserve owned and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. FLOB’s goal is to help further protect this special place from external threats through education, outreach, and service opportunities. Many locals are unaware that the LOBHP exists or what activities are available to enjoy the preserve. Activities allowed on the property include hunting, birding, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and scientific research, to name a few (please see South Carolina Department of Natural Resource - Regulations for seasons and rules for specific dates). 

The preserve is the last large, intact (10,400 acres) piece of Carolina Bay/wet pine savannah complex habitat left in Horry County. The biological diversity here rivals that of any other public land in the state. The biodiversity is a result of routine controlled burns (prescribed burns) carried out by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the South Carolina Forestry Commission that mimic the once common natural lightning ignited fires. Did you know Venus flytraps exist here naturally? Venus flytraps are only found in two places in the entire world, which include Horry County and just outside Wilmington, NC. A trip to the preserve may reward you with a sighting of a coastal black bear, an endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, or a carnivorous (insect-eating) plant. FLOB hopes you will join us in helping protect this very special place!

Join us sometime for an event! Come and get your “FLOB” on! Find us on social media or send us an email (links below).

Threats to Lewis Ocean Bay

 Conway Medical Center:

This local non-profit hospital has done so much good for the community, but it has announced plans to build a new hospital across from the preserve.While we are not against Conway Medical in general or the need for more hospital beds in our county, we are against a hospital located here! A hospital doesn’t belong where controlled burns will produce smoke or where two of the largest wildfires in state history have occurred. The controlled burns maintain habitat for rare species of animals and plants. The controlled burns reduce wildfire risk by reducing the forest fuels (pine straw and bay bushes) with each burn. By law, you cannot send smoke toward a hospital. In this case, a hospital will limit controlled burns and cause a public safety hazard!

Mine on Edge Rd: 

Carolina bays are rare along the eastern seaboard these days; most have been drained or built upon. Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve protects 23 intact Carolina bays that are home to many rare plants and animals. A 33-acre, 50-foot-deep sand mine directly on the border of the preserve threatens to drain these Carolina Bay wetlands. Species like Venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and salamanders need these bays to be wet; if they are dry, these species cannot survive. Unseasonably dry Carolina bays and their associated vegetation and soils lead to increased wildfire risk and difficulties in planning controlled burns. Endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers were found on this mine site during preliminary surveys, showing animals do not know property lines and it truly does matter what happens on the border of our protected lands!

What you can do to help

It is illegal to remove, harass, destroy, or collect any plants, artifacts, or animals on the preserve.

Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula): 

A globally imperiled plant species, requires fire to maintain its habitat, and yes eats bugs! Horry County and the area around Wilmington, NC are the only two places in the world you can find this plant growing naturally. Please enjoy them if you find them but never remove/collect them or post their whereabouts online. They are susceptible to poaching and trampling under your feet, and very rare!

Corn Snake (Elaphe [Pantherophis] guttata):

Found in upland, terrestrial habitats that are somewhat dry, exposed, and have underground mammal burrows. They especially favor sandy pinewoods like LOBHP! Often killed because they are confused with copperheads. Copperheads, however, have hourglass-shaped (rather than square) blotches, and are more brown than corn snakes. Please enjoy this LOBHP animal from a distance and never harass/pick up/ or kill any snake please. They are an important piece of the overall ecosystem.

Hooded Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia minor): 

A stemless, deciduous, herbaceous perennial, carnivorous plant native to the Southeastern coastal areas of the United States. These plants grow in moist areas with poor nutrient based soils and have adapted by becoming able to consume small bugs. The plant has specialized leaves in the form of a hollow cone to serve as a trap for insects. Please only photograph these plants as it is illegal to remove them from the wild!

Pine Forest:

An old pine stump with charred burn marks shows the routine presence of prescribed fire. Prescribed fire maintains an open understory to allow rare plants and animals to thrive. Prescribed fire lowers wildfire risk and severity by removing fuels (pine needles and leaf litter) that accumulate over time on the forest floor.

Take action to help us preserve Lewis Ocean Bay

Ask Conway Medical Center to act in the best interests of the community by choosing another site for the proposed Carolina Forest hospital on International Drive.

Click the button below or click here to take action!

Upcoming Events:

For upcoming events, follow us on Facebook or click here to join the community mailing list.