Barrier Island Eco Tours
50 41st Avenue
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
Review from Deb B.
by Deb B.
Amazing! Jeesen and Robert were great! They are so knowledgeable about the area and the ecology. The trip to Capers Island is wonderful in itself. The trip is about 3.5 hours. Be sure to take your camera. The wildlife seen was some of the best in the area. You can bring snacks, drinks and even adult beverages if you'd like. We have been on most of the outdoor tours in Charleston and this had to be my favorite. Rain or shine this is a *must do* for locals or tourists!
In the winter of 1997 three high school buddies, Shane Ziegler, Jose Hernandez, and Max Sparwasser, were roasting oysters over a cedar fire on Capers Island when the three of them came up with the idea of forming Barrier Island Eco Tours. The 23 year olds had spent much of their youth boating the tidal creeks of the Charleston area fishing, shrimping, crabbing, and exploring the undeveloped barrier islands. They felt that visitors to Charleston were missing out on the best part of the lowcountry, its undeveloped barrier islands and back creek salt marshes. They wanted to expose people to Capers Island and its surrounding salt marsh ecosystem, but in an informative way so guests left with a greater respect and appreciation of this remarkably unspoiled place.
In the summer of 1997, after receiving permission from the SCDNR to take visitors to Capers Island, Hernandez and Ziegler began business taking educational nature tours to Capers on a 6 passenger boat. In 1998 they bought the Callinectes, a Coast Guard Certified 40 passenger tour boat. Two years later they added a 23 ft. fishing boat for inshore fishing charters. Two years after that, a 16 passenger skiff outfitted for smaller customized eco-tours, kayaking, and fishing excursions was added to the fleet. In 2006, Ziegler bought out Hernandez’s share of the business and added a 22 passenger pontoon which he leases from his head naturalist, Robert Hopkins.
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Shane Ziegler | Owner/Captain/Naturalist
Shane is originally from Atlanta and spent his summers vacationing with his family on the Isle of Palms. Pulling seine nets in the tidal creeks, crabbing, and fishing with his family in the salt marshes while they were on vacation sparked his deep interest for marine biology. Shane and his family moved to the Isle of Palms the summer before his freshman year at Wando High School. During his high school years on Isle of Palms, Shane spent the majority of his free time exploring the salt marsh, fishing, crabbing, shrimping, and roasting oysters with his friends on small hammock islands. Julie Cliff, his Marine Biology teacher at Wando, further inspired his passion in the marine world.
During his summer internship in 1995 while attending Clemson University, he worked in four different South Carolina State Parks including Hunting Island State Park. At Hunting Island he realized the naturalist position was exactly what he wanted to pursue as a career. After graduating Clemson with a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Management, Shane began his career as a naturalist at Hunting Island as an assistant to Mike Walker, head naturalist at the park. Shane enjoyed working at Hunting Island for a year and a half performing sea turtle research and barrier island and salt marsh ecology programs for visitors and school groups. At the end of 1997 he left Hunting Island to pursue his own business, Barrier Island Eco Tours, with Jose Hernandez.
Shane now operates Barrier Island Eco Tours with his wife Morgan. They are able to run a small business and still find free time of their own for fishing, island exploring, or just relaxing on the house boat together with their dog Emma.
Morgan Ziegler | Sales Manager/Owner
Morgan grew up in Columbia, SC and visited the Carolina coast every year with her parents and grandparents. As a child and young adult, she was fascinated with the sea and the animals that lived in it. She loved swimming in the ocean and hunting for sharks teeth and shells with her Grandmother on the beach. Her passion for the marine world, and spending time in nature grew with her.
Morgan later attended Clemson University with a major in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Morgan chose Travel and Tourism as her emphasis area in PRTM, and became very interested in the growing trend of eco tourism around the world. She decided for her summer internship to pursue eco tourism in the Charleston area, and luckily acquired an internship with Barrier Island Eco Tours the summer before graduating from Clemson. She fell in love with the business and Charleston’s coast that summer, and decided to move to the area after graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science. She continued to work with Barrier Island Eco Tours in the summers, and began a career in event and wedding planning in downtown Charleston.
While working with the company, Morgan and her dog Emma, also fell in love with Barrier Island Eco Tour’s owner Shane Ziegler. Morgan and Shane are now married, live in Mt. Pleasant, and are running the business together. She enjoys spending time in the outdoors, fishing, biking, boating and being with friends and family.
Princess Emma, Dolphin Pointer/Fishing Guide
Emma was a lost puppy found on Hwy. 76 in Anderson, S.C. when she was just 3 months old. By luck and fate she found a home with Morgan who was attending Clemson University at the time. Emma and Morgan did a lot of hiking to waterfalls, mountain biking and camping in the upstate.
Emma was very excited to move to Charleston with Morgan after leaving Clemson, and now lives in Mt. Pleasant with her Mom and Dad. She enjoys fishing with Shane (especially sharks); running on the beach, chasing squirrels, lots of treats and belly rubs. Princess Emma is the best Dolphin Pointer around and she would love to see you on a boat trip soon!
Isle of Palms Fishing Trips - The Best Charleston Fishing Charters
We offer excellent inshore fishing opportunities year round to help you experience fishing in the Charleston at a whole new level.
Departing from the Isle of Palms Marina, within minutes you are in pristine salt marshes and tidal flats. The waters surrounding the Isle of Palms are one of the most productive areas along the east coast for redfish, speckled trout, flounder, shark and many others. Our salt marsh eco-system in Charleston creates a “nutrient rich soup” which provides the basis of the food chain for many species of fish. In the warmer months it is possible to catch over 10 species during one outing. All necessary tackle, licenses and supplies are provided on every trip. Our fleet consists of a 6 passenger 23 foot bay boat, a 3 passenger flats boat for shallow water fishing targeting redfish, and a 12 passenger 27 foot Carolina Skiff for larger groups. We work closely with several of the top guides that also run out of the Isle of Palms Marina and can put together groups of 50 or more. Our captains are well experienced, patient, friendly, and have a deep passion for what they do. We cater to those who want a relaxed fishing trip with plenty of action. Our guides take extra care with kids making sure they have the best experience possible. When taking a fishing charter with Barrier Island EcoTours, you get more than just a fishing trip. Our guides are also naturalists and while catching fish, you will also gain knowledge about the dynamics of the salt marsh.
Barrier Island Eco-Tours
50 41st Avenue
Isle of Palms, SC 29451