Coastal Beaufort County is South Carolina's fastest-growing county and home to Hilton Head Island, a popular resort and retirement community. In 2000, voters passed, with TPL's help, a $40 million bond referendum to protect natural areas, historic sites, and recreation lands. Since 2003, TPL has helped the county administer its Rural and Critical Lands Program and preserve more than 7,740 acres. In 2006, a second bond referendum was passed for $50 million dollars to continue the successful program in Beaufort County. Among the properties conserved are the McDowell Islands—eight islands and numerous smaller hummocks totaling more than 10 acres, which will be donated by the state for management and preservation in their natural state. TPL also helped protect the historic Skull Creek shrimp docks, important to fishermen from the native Gullah/Geechee culture, descendents of African slaves.