PDLT Protects Farming Legacy
On April 12, 2018, Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) finalized its agreement to permanently protect over 674 acres of working farm and forest land on the Lynches River in Darlington County. The Scarborough Farm was donated to Pee Dee Land Trust through a living estate gift by the late Rivers Scarborough. Mrs. Evelyn Scarborough and her nephew, Randy Scarborough, were delighted Pee Dee Land Trust was able to work with the current tenant farmers, Windham Family Farms Partnership, to purchase the property and donate a conservation easement on 99.5% of the original farm tracts. Mr. Scarborough’s wish to leave a legacy of farming on his property has been fulfilled through the partnership with the Windham family.
Scarborough Farm will be the second conservation easement PDLT has worked on with the Windham family. Through the use of permanent agreements, PDLT and landowners work as partners to ensure that land use activities on private property are limited in order to preserve key conservation values which benefit the public. These values include open space such as rural scenic views along roads and rivers, habitat for wildlife including game and non-game species, and the protection of farm and forest land to ensure it remains in farming and forestry rather than being converted to other uses.
The property is managed for row crops, pine production, bottomland hardwood forest, and wildlife habitat. The conservation agreement will keep the property whole, helping to ensure that it will remain available for growing and harvesting crops and timber as well as recreational uses such as hunting and fishing. 48% of the property is active farm land and 52% in timber, with 3,370 feet along the Lynches River. By retaining a natural forest buffer and prohibiting timber harvesting along the Lynches River, the property will contribute to the wildlife habitat, water quality, and scenic values of this state-designated Scenic River, a popular route for kayak and canoe trips. The property also retains scenic road frontage along a Public Highway.
Seth Cook, Director of Land Conservation with PDLT, noted that “this is a unique project that has been a long time in the making. We wanted to be sure that we properly handled such a significant gift and we believe that this outcome fully satisfies the desires of the Scarborough family and protects a property that is in the heart of a dense area of conservation along the Scenic Lynches River, a focus area for Pee Dee Land Trust.”
“Not only are we working with three generations of farmers to protect the property they have been working for years, we are fulfilling the legacy of Rivers Scarborough to maintain the property for farming and forestry in perpetuity,” stated Lyles Cooper Lyles, PDLT’s Executive Director. “The proceeds from the sale of this incredible gift have been invested into Pee Dee Land Trust endowments to help ensure our organization is around for the long haul in order to maintain and grow our partnerships with landowners throughout the Pee Dee watershed.”
With this as its 69th conservation project to date, Pee Dee Land Trust has now protected over 27,693 acres in the Pee Dee Region. While remaining in private ownership, the lands protected through conservation easements held by PDLT ensure that special places will be available for farming, forestry, and recreation for future generations.