History of PDLT

Summer 1998: Pee Dee Resource Conservation and Development Council (PDRC&D) sets up steering committee to consider creation of a land trust and wetland mitigation bank for 5 county area, including Chesterfield, Marlboro, Dillon, Darlington and Marion.

Winter 1998-99: land trust gets official designation as a public interest organization (501c3 nonprofit), still a project of the PDRC&D. Recruitment of community leaders and county officials to serve as board members.

Fall 1999: First meeting of the Pee Dee Land Trust Board of Directors. PDRC&D Director Wylie Owens then David Arthur serves as director of the PDLT; Sharon DeWitt covers the administrative responsibilities. They help the land trust on a part-time basis.

2000: Community meetings held in the 5 counties, hosted by the board members.

2001: Land trust acquires first conservation easement.

2002: Received gift of 668 acres of land in Lamar; donors retain a “life estate.” The Palmetto Conservation Foundation assists Land Trust with gift. PDLT added Florence County to its focus area. PDLT cosponsored a forum with the American Farmland Trust.

2003: PDLT hosted June event at Kalmia Gardens featuring Naturescene host, Rudy Mancke. Added Georgetown and Williamsburg to focus area, so that all 8 counties that touch the Great Pee Dee River from the state line to the Atlantic Ocean are included.

2004: Hosted Conservation Symposium with speakers from state and national organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, SC Conservation Bank, Upstate Forever. PDLT developed and adopted a vision statement and strategic plan with help from Lumpkin and Associates, funded by a grant from Windham Foundation. Progress Energy donates $25k to establish riparian buffer protection program.

2005: PDLT received a half million dollar pledge in order to hire full time permanent staff and hired its first full time director Jennie Williamson Pezé. Established the new PDLT headquarters at Francis Marion University.

2006: Land Trust dramatically expands membership, education, and land protection efforts, including accepting four conservation easements to protect 1,286 acres. Membership increases from 40 to nearly 300.

2007: Land Trust hires part-time staff person and continues to grow, quadrupling land protection to nearly 8,000 acres. Membership exceeds 450 households.

2008: Land protection exceeds 10,000 acres! Attendance at events hits record highs. Membership continues to grow.

2009: Land Trust celebrates 10th Anniversary. Adds temporary part time staff to assist with land protection; updates Strategic Plan. Membership grows above 600.

2010: Adds Horry County to Land Trust Focus Area; increases land conservation to more than 12,000 acres. Hires first full-time Land Conservation Director.

2011: Part-time Finance and Administration Coordinator position created and filled. Protected acreage approaches 15,000 acres.

2012: PDLT was selected for Land Trust Alliance Excellence Enhancement Program in the Spring. PDLT office moved to historic downtown Florence and became a nationally accredited land trust in the Winter.

2013: The land trust adds 1,792 acres of protected land with the help of 5 landowners and a wetland restoration project along the Lynches river that will protect 4 miles of designated scenic river frontage.

2014: PDLT celebrates its 15th year of operation.

2015:  Black Creek Land Trust consolidates their land protection efforts under the stewardship of Pee Dee Land Trust.  As result, PDLT took fee title to two nature preserves totaling 267 acres and added six conservation easements comprising 3,130 acres to the PDLT portfolio.

2016:  Two new conservation easement projects: Hagin’s Prong Farm (1,722 acres in Marlboro County) and Pettigrew Tract (1,044 acres in Florence County)

2017:  With B. Wallace Farm as the latest addition (348 acres in Marlboro County), Pee Dee Land Trust has now protected over 24,918 acres across our 9 county focus area of South Carolina.