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Santee Canal Side Trip
Construction began on the Santee Canal in 1793. It operated from it's completion in 1800 through 1850. The original canal used a series of 10 locks to move laden vessels from the Santee River to the Cooper River and subsequently down the Cooper River to the antebellum city of Charleston. Designed by competent engineers of the day including General George Washington, the Santee Canal served as a primary system for transporting goods from midland South Carolina to Charleston. In the mid 1800's the canal fell into disuse due to the advent of the steam train and a period of extended drought in the area. Of the original 22 miles of the canal, most of the system was consumed by Lake Moultrie upon completion of the dam in November 1941. Today there remains a beautiful two and a half mile section of the canal that can be accessed by canoe or kayak from Angels Cove on the western boundary of Sandy Beach Wildlife Refuge. It is a black water canal bordered by moss laden cypress trees. It appears uniformly about 20 yards in width and maintains a depth of 4 to 5 feet. When one equates the massive amounts of materials moved by hand to create the canal, the enormity of the project is mind boggling. Paddling the canal creates a sense of the history of Berkeley County. The mouth of the canal is located near the Sandy Beach Camp Site and the GPS coords are: N33 23 55.2 W 80 04 47.4
As you enter the Diverson make sure you explore the area on both sides of the canal. These are very good areas to see wildlife.
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