Over 352 acres in Fairfield County are now conserved, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Congaree Land Trust (CLT), the South Carolina Conservation Bank (SCCB) and the McCrary family. Now under conservation easement, this working property—a tree farm— helps to permanently protect central South Carolinians’ water and air quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and support the state’s natural resource economy.
Located in the rolling farm hills of northern Farifield County, the McCrary property is blanketed in forest consisting of loblolly pine, mixed pine hardwoods, upland hardwoods, as well as a stand of bottomland hardwoods bordering the Little River, a tributary of the Broad River. This bottomland forest helps filter water entering the Broad River, while supporting an abundance of wildlife with a rich understory of wild blackberry, wild oats, and cattails. With its close proximity to the Sumter National Forest, a number of wildlife species could also use this land as a pass though or stopover. The McCrary family also plants a portion of the property in food plots or fallow fields for wildlife.
This property joins 8,074 acres conserved by Congaree Land Trust in Fairfield County. To date, the Congaree Land Trust has conserved nearly 1,500 acres in the Broad River Basin, which feeds the larger Santee Basin in South Carolina. Conserving these lands maintains the health of our watersheds, protects water quality for citizens and enriches the natural resource economy of our state.
“Forestry is one of South Carolina’s most important industries,” says Raleigh West, SCCB’s Executive Director. “Working with partners like Congaree Land Trust and landowners like the McCrary family to keep our timber base intact and unfragmented is a priority for the S.C. Conservation Bank. Not only does that help sustain rural economies, it also secures water quality and wildlife habitat in our state.”
The McCrary family will continue working the land for timber and agriculture, and will permanently preserve the rural view (nearly a mile) along Clark Bridge Road for passersby. Landowner Bill McCrary recently hosted a 2-part educational program with the Clemson Cooperative Extension and S.C. Forestry Commission on land, forestry and wildlife management at the farm. McCrary was named District 6 Tree Farmer of the Year for 2013 and 2018 and received the Outstanding Young Forester Leadership Award from the SC Chapter of the Society of American Foresters in 1985.
About Congaree Land Trust: The Congaree Land Trust (CLT) was founded in 1992 by seven individuals committed to conserving the natural and scenic lands in central South Carolina. To date, over 78,000 acres have been conserved, representing 172 individual conservation easements across 14 counties. Conservation easements help protect the natural areas that fuel our state’s natural resource-based economy and define our way of life. Learn more: www.congareelt.org or contact Erin Eisele at email@example.com
About South Carolina Conservation Bank: The mission of SCCB is to improve the quality of life in South Carolina through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, and urban parks. Learn more at https://sccbank.sc.gov .