The Open Space Institute has been working in South Carolina for over six years, and we are pleased to be part of the creation of a new state park along the Black River. We didn't want you to miss this article in which the efforts of OSI were called out as particularly critical to efforts to build connections to the wonderful Black River.
“State Park Service Director Paul McCormack credits Maria Whitehead of the Open Space Institute with forging this coalition and pushing the park initiative.”
The Post and Courier’s Adam Parker and Shamira McCray have produced a beautiful and compelling feature on one of South Carolina’s least known treasures, the Black River, focusing on the creation of the first new state park in more than 15 years. The new state park complements a partnership effort to create a visionary network of riverfront parks and a water trail encompassing nearly 4,000 acres which will meander seventy miles through Williamsburg and Georgetown counties. Visitors will have unparalleled opportunities such as picnicking and swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and nature study in a part of the state that previously had only limited access to a nationally important natural landscape.
The partners in the initiative – South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, the towns of Andrews and Kingstree, and a host of non-profit organizations – will spend more than a year envisioning, analyzing, and planning to create a recreation and conservation vision for the river including the site design for the new state park property. The effort builds on twenty years of quiet, persistent conservation work.
According to Open Space Institute’s Dr. Maria Whitehead, a native of South Carolina’s Pee Dee region “The state park is the affirmation of years of work by a number of excellent land trusts collaborating with private landowners, acknowledging the exceptional importance of the Black and the increasing threats it faces. We hope it will also provide an economic opportunity for the communities in this underserved part of the state. The park could not have come at a more opportune time.”
Since 1990, the Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy, the Lowcountry Land Trust, the Pee Dee Land Trust, and the Winyah Bay Foundation, working with private and corporate landowners, have collectively protected 25,000 acres of land and 65 miles of river frontage.
We at the Open Space Institute are extraordinarily proud to be a part of this collaborative effort and know that our success is directly connected to those who support our work. As such, I offer my sincere thanks and hope that the Black River project serves as an inspiration.
Senior Vice President & Southeastern Office Director
You can view the "Connecting to South Carolina's Black River"
You can find more information and participate in a community input park survey here:
"Connecting to South Carolina's Black River" Story Map: https://www.openspaceinstitute.org/blackriver