Greenville- and Spartanburg-based conservation organization Upstate Forever protected 2,176 acres of private and public farmlands, forests, and greenspace across the 10-county Upstate South Carolina region in 2020. Partner projects where Upstate Forever was integral to the effort’s success comprise an additional 713 acres.
Conservation projects completed in 2020 include:
Kings Mountain Preserve in Cherokee County, a 36-acre forested oasis that will be home to a green burial cemetery.
Cedar Rock in Greenville County. The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina transferred the conservation easement on a 497-acre property known as Cedar Rock to Upstate Forever. The property has been under a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy since 1995, and part of the property is owned by Naturaland Trust. Upstate Forever has assumed the responsibility of conducting yearly stewardship visits to ensure the terms of the conservation agreement are being upheld.
Paw Paw Farm in Laurens County, a 241-acre farm that includes the protection of a rural scenic view along Milam Road and natural habitat of fish and wildlife.
Morris Property in Oconee County, a 25-acre property boasting significant environmental features including a mature hardwood forest, dense wetlands, and native plant habitat.
Grant Meadow in Pickens County, which permanently protects an iconic view of Table Rock from Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11. The recent addition of 21 protected acres on the property known as Grant Meadow joins a 36-acre property that was placed under a conservation easement in 2013. A grant from the South Carolina Conservation Bank made this conservation success possible.
Red Fox Farm in Spartanburg County, 120 acres of forestland that protect significant natural areas and scenic views from Highway 417.
Friendfield Farm, Gregorys Creek mitigation site, and Sandy Run Forest in Union County. Friendfield Farm is 383 acres of prime farmland, timber, and hunting land. With more than a mile of land along the banks of Fairforest Creek, its protection will also play a significant role in safeguarding the creek’s water quality. The 532-acre Gregorys Creek mitigation site will safeguard water quality and better protect Gregorys Creek as it flows into the Broad River. Sandy Run Forest is comprised of 237 acres of forests, farmland, and open fields. Located less than a mile from the Lower Pacolet River, this property is also critical to water quality, in addition to serving as important wildlife habitat.
Also protected were 81 acres in Pickens County that are part of a nearly 800-acre property purchased by Naturaland Trust with the support of the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the USDA Community Forest Program.
“We are immensely proud of the land protection successes our team accomplished in 2020 despite significant challenges the ongoing pandemic created,” said Scott Park, Glenn Hilliard Director of Land Conservation for Upstate Forever. “This momentum has carried into the new year with several additional projects completed in early 2021 and several thousand additional acres forecasted to be protected across the Upstate this year.”
Upstate Forever protects land in partnership with landowners through conservation easements, voluntary contracts that allow the landowner to legally restrict certain land uses from occurring on their property, such as the development of residential subdivisions, commercial or industrial operations, while allowing traditional rural land uses, such as farming, grazing, hunting, and timbering to continue. This agreement is permanent and remains with the land even after it has been sold or willed to heirs.
Since its inception in 1998 by founder Brad Wyche, Upstate Forever’s nationally accredited land trust has permanently protected approximately 25,800 acres through voluntary conservation easements in partnership with landowners and other conservation organizations.
Upstate Forever is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of the Upstate of South Carolina. We focus our work on the ten counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union. Since 1998, we have worked to protect and enhance the Upstate’s most essential natural assets: drinking water sources, outdoor recreation areas, tree cover, mountain vistas, healthy forests, and local farms. We are committed to ensuring that the Upstate’s communities are green, vibrant, and prosperous, with a high quality of life for all residents. Upstate Forever has offices in Greenville and Spartanburg. For more information, visit www.upstateforever.org.
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