Lowcountry boat ramp in limbo

Russ Point Landing closed, but for how long?

According to the SC State Park Service and Hunting Island State Park, the Russ Point Landing closed on April 1. Initially, the closure was announced as permanent, but that status was changed to temporary after boaters, anglers and kayakers raised their concerns about the closure.

Russ Point Landing is located on Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort (SC) County, and is the area’s closest boat ramp to the ocean. It also provides access to lots of inshore fishing grounds, and is a popular spot for kayaking sightseers as well.

The closure took place due to deteriorating road conditions leading to the ramp, which the state deemed too expensive to repair. But lawmakers intervened after hearing loud outcries from their constituents. Still, it is uncertain whether the landing will reopen to the public, and if so, for how long.

Sam Queen, spokesperson for SC State Parks, said it was a tough decision to close the landing, but one they felt was necessary for the public’s safety, and was economically not feasible to repair.

A recent estimate in the amount of $75,000 could repair the road, but Queen said that would simply be kicking the can down the road.

Who built the landing?

Russ Point boat landing offers access to everything from offshore fishing, to inshore fishing, to sightseeing tours from kayaks, but it’s closed as of April 1.

“It is not possible for us to beat the water,” she said. “The erosion is just going to continue. Any investment that we make is going to continue to be wiped away by the water.”

Queen said they don’t have a date in mind for the landing to reopen.

For decades, Beaufort County maintained the landing, but a title search a few years ago determined it was owned by the state, not the county. In 2022, the county requested the state take over responsibility of the landing. But now, county officials, along with numerous representatives, concerned citizens, and sportsman groups, are making efforts to see the boat landing repaired and reopened. The financial burden, along with the final decision on the landing’s fate, however, falls to the state.

It is unclear when the boat ramp was initially built, or even who built it. According to Beaufort County’s Interim Administrator John Robinson, he’s found evidence that it was built in either the 1970s or 1980s, and not by the county or the state, but by local residents.

The closest boat landing to Russ Point is Machete Flats at Butches Road on St. Helena Island. Many maps and mapping programs erroneously state that Machete Flats is permanently closed, but that is not the case. It is, however, tough to use by bigger boats at low tide.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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