Featured Protected Lands

Scarborough Farm

675 acres, Lynches River, Darlington County

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.

Dillon Inland Port Mitigation

78 acres, Little Pee Dee River, Dillon County

DILLON, SC (August 15, 2018)—The Open Space Institute (OSI), the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) today announced a major land conservation achievement aimed at improving the water quality of the Little Pee Dee River. The project will permanently protect 78 acres near the source of the 116-mile river.

The "Little Pee Dee River" property, located outside the town of Dillon, SC, consists of forested wetlands important for wildlife, groundwater recharge and water quality (photos and map here). As a result of this important conservation project, the property will be permanently protected from future cutting or disturbance. Research has shown that intact watershed forests act as a natural filter to clean drinking water downstream and can moderate the flow of water, reducing the risk of flooding downstream.

The protection of the Little Pee Dee River property was made possible through wetlands mitigation funding associated with the South Carolina Ports Authority's new Inland Port Dillon. Under the structure of the acquisition, the property was secured by OSI and has been transferred to Dillon County, with Pee Dee Land Trust holding a conservation easement.

"The unspoiled forests near the source of the Little Pee Dee River act as natural water filter. By protecting this land, we are improving the river's overall water quality for generations to come," said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. "We thank the South Carolina Ports Authority and Pee Dee Land Trust, and look forward to continuing to work with our talented conservation partners in South Carolina."

"The Port is pleased to be part of the Dillon community and contribute to important conservation efforts, in addition to economic development activities, of the Pee Dee region," said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. "The protection of this property is reflective of the Port's ongoing commitment to responsible environmental operations."

"PDLT proudly partnered with OSI, SCPA and Dillon County to fulfill the SC Ports Authority's mitigation requirements for the development of the inland port in Dillon," said Lyles Cooper Lyles, Executive Director of PDLT. "The conservation easement on this significant resource is a good example of PDLT's mission to conserve land in the Pee Dee Watershed while serving as a partner to complement economic development and contribute to the improvement of quality of life needs for our area."

The newly protected property is located in a conservation priority area for state and federal agencies, conservation groups and private landowners. It is also near or adjacent to other privately- and publicly-protected properties, including the state's Little Pee Dee State Park and the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve.
The Little Pee Dee River is a 116-mile black water tributary of the Pee Dee River. The Little Pee Dee flows past cypress-tupelo swamps, ancient sloughs, and sandy stream bottoms, and is a popular recreation destination for fishing and boating.

Since 2013, OSI has protected more than 9,000 acres in South Carolina, including the addition of nearly 6,000 acres to the Francis Marion National Forest; the transfer of Pappy's Island to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge; and land along the Black River.

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.

The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America. A leader in environmental conservation, OSI leverages our knowledge and attracts resources for strategic investments to make innovative land conservation happen. Visit OSI online at www.openspaceinstitute.org.

Pee Dee Land Trust focuses on the Pee Dee watershed, which covers nine+ counties of the Pee Dee region 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. More information at www.peedeelandtrust.org.

Riverside Farms

2,102 acres, Lynches River, Lee County

On August 16, 2017, Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) finalized its agreement to permanently protect over 2,100 acres of working farm and forest land on the Lynches River in Lee County. 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. PDLT is proud to have partnered with the South Carolina Conservation Bank to help make this important project possible as Lee County’s first Conservation Bank funded project.

SC Representative Will Wheeler shared his thoughts on the project, “The natural beauty of Lee County is one of our great resources, and recreational use of Lynches River has grown in the years since it was designated a Scenic River. This project reflects conservation at its best, balancing the ability to protect a valued resource while allowing land to continue to be productive. Projects like this are why I am glad to support the Conservation Bank, and appreciate the efforts of PDLT in working to have such a major project completed here in Lee County.”

The property is managed for row crops, pine production, bottomland hardwood forest, and wildlife habitat with a focus on quail management. 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. Over half of the farm includes prime agricultural soils, supporting some of the most productive farmland and timberland in South Carolina. By retaining a natural forest buffer and prohibiting timber harvesting along more than a mile of 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 more than 4 miles of Public Highway.

Seth Cook, Director of Land Conservation with PDLT, noted that “this is one of the best examples of what a large property can do when managed for a diverse blend of uses. The mix of high value crop production, timber production, and wildlife management complement each other to benefit the property and all those nearby. When it comes to conservation values, this property checks every box.”

“Although Lee County is outside of PDLT’s nine county service area, this project was a natural fit into our overall conservation plan for the Pee Dee,” stated Lyles Cooper Lyles, PDLT’s Executive Director. “When this project was proposed to our staff, we were really excited about working with the landowner to preserve this property as it buffers a major river in the Pee Dee watershed and is just across the river from other properties in which PDLT holds land and conservation easements.”

With this as its largest conservation project to date, and its first in Lee County, Pee Dee Land Trust has now protected over 27,019 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.

Homeplace Farm

348 acres, Marlboro County

Pee Dee Land Trust Protects Working Family Forest Land in Marlboro County

On May 9, 2017, Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) finalized its agreement with Mr. Wallace to permanently protect 348 acres of family land in Marlboro County. 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. PDLT is proud to have partnered with the Wallace Family and the South Carolina Conservation Bank to make this important project possible.

Mr. Wallace explained why they chose to place a conservation easement on the property that has been in his family for multiple generations and was passed down to him, “This property is very special because it is the first property that my grandparents bought as their home place, where I grew up for several years, and where my family now comes to enjoy and recreate. When this land is passed to my grandchildren it will have been owned by five generations of Wallace family members. It brings me joy to know that the home place is protected and because of the conservation easement I can rest assured that it will remain.

With over 290 acres of important farmland soils, small stream hardwood forests, spring-fed ponds, and visible highway frontage on US Route 1, Homeplace Farm boasts significant forestry and agricultural ability and wildlife habitat. The agreement will keep the property whole, helping to ensure that it will remain available for growing and harvesting timber or crops as well as recreational uses such as hunting and fishing. Seth Cook, Director of Land Conservation with PDLT, noted that “family-owned land is the core around which we build our work and to protect a property that showcases those values is very satisfying.”

James Tract Extension

22 acres, Black Creek, Darlington County

This project will initiate a long-term process for strategic conservation of high priority lands on Black Creek in Darlington County. To do this, Pee Dee Land Trust will prioritize properties, educate landowners about conservation options, and complete a new conservation easement project.

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