PDLT Completes its 5th Project Along the Great Pee Dee River
Pee Dee Land Trust Completes its Fifth Project Along the Great Pee Dee River
On October 21st, Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) finalized its partnership with Cattails Tree Farm, LLC to permanently protect 670 acres along the Great Pee Dee River in Marlboro County. The Tilghman tract, as the property is known, is PDLT’s fifth conservation agreement along the region’s major river. 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. As owner of Cattails Tree Farm and a professional forester, Eddie Drayton explained the decision to place an easement on the property he owns with his wife, “We placed a working forest conservation easement on our Tilghman tract through a bargain sale with the South Carolina Conservation Bank which preserves the natural beauty of a river bottom oxbow lake, a black water creek and a section of the Great Pee Dee River. The easement is a winner for forestland protection in a very sensible way and also for us in that we still own and control the property and gain certain benefits while being assured that this beautiful tract will be conserved.”
With over a mile of river frontage, significant frontage on a black water creek, an oxbow lake, and extensive bottomland hardwood and cypress-tupelo forests, the Tilghman Tract boasts significant wildlife habitat and water resources that are now protected through enhanced forested buffers. In addition, Henegan Lake is one of the first oxbow lakes on the upper Pee Dee. Such lakes are unique and have been carved off of the main river channel over time. The agreement will keep the property from being fragmented, helping to ensure that it will remain intact and in forestry and recreational uses such as hunting and fishing. Seth Cook, Director of Land Conservation with PDLT, noted that “protecting land along the Pee Dee River is at the heart of our work and this project is another important step in pursuing the land trust’s mission.”
With the Tilghman Tract as the latest addition, the Pee Dee Land Trust has now protected over 21,500 acres in the Pee Dee Region. While remaining in private ownership, the lands protected by PDLT ensure that special places will be available for farming, forestry, and recreation for future generations.
Eddie Drayton, owner of Cattails Tree Farm, standing next to a cherrybark oak named ‘Mr. Big’ that is part of a permanent growth plot where he measures old growth timber rates.
The Pee Dee Land Trust works in the nine counties that touch the Great Pee Dee River in South Carolina: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg. Its mission is to protect, and to promote an appreciation of, the significant natural, agricultural, and historical resources of the Pee Dee Region through voluntary land conservation and educational programs. For more information, see www.peedeelandtrust.org.