Pee Dee Land Trust Finalizes the Transfer of the Back Swamp Woods Tract

 Pee Dee Land Trust Finalizes the Transfer of the Back Swamp Woods Tract


July, 2015 – Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) recently completed one of its more complex conservation transactions to date.  It began in July of 2013 when PDLT submitted an application to the South Carolina Conservation Bank for funds to purchase 93 acres of land surrounding the Back Swamp School House, an historic school house (circa 1921) in Florence County.  The objective was to secure title to the property, protect it in perpetuity with a conservation easement, and transfer the property to the Back Swamp School Trust which owns the adjoining historic school house.  Two years later that objective was complete.  David White provided his thoughts on the project, “The Back Swamp School Trust board views this 93-acre wooded tract as an essential addition to the community center we are creating in the Pocket Road and Back Swamp neighborhood.  Those who know and love the historic schoolhouse will now be able to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings and share them with their children. We are grateful that the Pee Dee Land Trust and the South Carolina Conservation Bank both recognized our long-term commitment to this important piece of our history.”Back Swamp Woods 3 - school web

This was the first project in Florence County funded by the South Carolina Conservation Bank and added to the nearly 5,000 acres of protected lands in the immediate area.  Protecting the 93 acres was important for the local community as noted by Dr. Alva Whitehead, “The addition of this property to the other local easements is affirming to many residents of Pocket Road that what we have done, are doing, and will be doing in the futures is on the right track. This region of the state has a tremendous opportunity, indeed a duty, to conserve green space for future generations while we can. PDLT is a wonderful organization to facilitate that work.” 

PDLT typically works with private landowners to develop conservation agreements that are used to ensure future uses of property are in keeping with the landowner’s wishes to protect conservation values that are beneficial to the public good.  Those values include wildlife habitat and open space, both of which are evident on the Back Swamp Woods property (the property).  A very important public benefit incorporated in this agreement is public access and this project stands out in that regard.  Limited public access was an objective for the property with the anticipation that it be managed to include walking trails for the public to enjoy.  Seth Cook, Director of Land Conservation, commented that: “This project was different from any other project I have worked on but very rewarding, especially when viewed through a long-term lens.  It was important for PDLT to know that the land would be held by the Back Swamp School Trust, which has demonstrated such good stewardship of the schoolhouse as a community asset.”

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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.

                                                                                    

 

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