PDLT Protects Large Working Farm in 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.
Pee Dee Land Trust focuses in 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. Pee Dee Land Trust has a toolbox full of options to help landowners who are interested in conservation such as accepting donations of land or conservation easements.