Woodlands near the ocean are called maritime forests. The trees and scrub vegetation have well-developed root systems that spread out and can survive in sandy soil. The best place on Fripp to observe a maritime forest is along the Audubon Trail. The entrance is located on Porpoise Drive near the turn to Fairway Club Road.
Live oaks, pines, palms and magnolias grow in dense clusters in the maritime forest and provide habitat for wildlife. Lush vines are intertwined with the trees, increasing the density of the forest. The limbs of live oaks and tall pines intertwine to form a dense green blanket, or canopy, which provides shade, cools the ground and helps retain moisture.
The understory of the maritime forest is an array of hardy scrubs. These include saw palms, dwarf oaks, wax myrtle, holly and red bay. Scrubs can also be found along the edges of the maritime forest. Their twisted branches are shaped by strong winds from the sea.
Many mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects spend their entire lives in the maritime forest. They find food from the acorns of live oak trees and berries from the scrubs, as well as many safe places for nesting and breeding.
Fripp Audubon Club
Founded in 1977, the Audubon Club on Fripp has a long history of providing its members and the public monthly programs and field trips that help provide greater awareness about the variety of birds and wildlife found in this region. Named for the club’s founder, the Dixie Winter Audubon Trail is a well-marked loop that proceeds through the forest, along a salt marsh to the beach of the Fripp Inlet.