Palmetto Conservation Foundation welcomes Rob Achenberg to the PCF team as Palmetto Trail Regional Coordinator to support activities regarding development, construction, maintenance and expansion of the mountains-to-sea Palmetto Trail system.
Achenberg retired this summer as Mountain Regional Chief with the S.C. State Park Service, the capstone of his 29-year career in the service. He brings to PCF a wealth of talent, skills and knowledge about public land management and recreational trails.
“Rob Achenberg is a perfect fit for PCF’s needs at present for an upstate Regional Coordinator,” Executive Director Natalie Britt said. “We will draw on his expertise to handle a variety of tasks as we pursue PCF’s goal to #FinishtheTrail.”
Conversations with Britt about working for PCF “started as a joke,” Achenberg said, but proceeded quickly to serious consideration as both realized the benefits. “I’m excited to continue my work career helping to finish the Palmetto Trail,” he said.
As Mountain Regional Chief, Achenberg oversaw operations at state parks and historical sites in the Upstate. His work ranged from maintenance to capacity building, personnel supervision to public and customer relations, revenue enhancement to retail inventories. Achenberg described his job as “dealing with the unforeseen.”
For PCF, Achenberg’s work will focus on promoting the Palmetto Trail and engaging public and private stakeholders in Trail projects and expansion plans. He expects to get his hands dirty as he manages contractors, the Palmetto Conservation Corps, and volunteers to build and maintain Trail passages. He will supervise use of best conservation practices to protect natural and cultural resources along the Trail corridor.
“The Palmetto Trail is a high-quality amenity for counties,” Achenberg said, noting that the Trail draws tourists, commerce and new business into communities. He is also a strong advocate for active outdoor recreation on the Trail as well as in state parks.
In September, PCF will complete its third Upstate Palmetto Trail construction project in the past 12 months. These include Stumphouse Passage of the Palmetto Trail, which anchors the new Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park in Oconee County. Fundraising and construction of the bike park continue. PCF also opened Round Top Mountain Passage near Table Rock State Park, and will soon open Dug Mountain Passage out of Keowee-Toxaway State Park. A fourth new passage across Ross Mountain is underway to connect Stumphouse Passage to Oconee State Park.
The cross-state Palmetto Trail is South Carolina’s longest public recreation trail and largest trail construction project. PCF has completed 375 miles of the 500-mile Trail, which travels from Walhalla in the Blue Ridge Mountains across the Capitol steps in Columbia to Awendaw on the Intracoastal Waterway. The unfinished 125 miles are in Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, Newberry, Richland and Fairfield counties.
The Palmetto Trail is designed exclusively for active, nonmotorized recreation. The Trail is available as a free public resource for residents and visitors.
About Palmetto Conservation
The mission of Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) is to conserve South Carolina's natural and cultural resources, preserve historic landmarks, and promote active outdoor recreation on trails and greenways. Founded in 1989, PCF is a statewide nonprofit organization with headquarters in Columbia. PCF’s largest and best-known project is building and maintaining the mountains-to-sea Palmetto Trail. In 2016, PCF inaugurated the Palmetto Conservation Corps to help interested young adults in South Carolina learn skills in trail maintenance and construction, assist with disaster recovery, and develop as the next generation of conservation stewards and leaders. The Palmetto Conservation Corps is South Carolina’s only trail-based AmeriCorps service program for young adults. To learn more about Palmetto Conservation, the Palmetto Trail and the Palmetto Conservation Corps, visit www.palmettoconservation.org and Facebook/palmettoconservation, or call 803-771-0870.