South Carolina’s new state park

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Nature | Image via Pexels

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Did someone say new state park? Yes, planning has started for a future SC State Parkthe first in nearly 20 years — along the Black River in Williamsburg + Georgetown Counties.

In February of this year, SC State Parks accepted the donation of the 310-acre “Hinds Canada” property from the Open Space Institute.

Map of new state park area | Photo provided

The park will connect a network of properties, owned by public and private partners, along 70 miles of riverfront on the Black River —  a free-flowing Coastal Plain river bordered by largely untouched and undiminished natural landscapes of forests or farmlands. The river is named after its dark tea-like color, stained by the natural tannins that seep from the river’s leaves + swamps.

With various access points physically separated along the river, this park will be the first of its kind in SC’s 47 state parks

The Black River Water Trail + Park Network will include the newly acquired Black River Landing in Kingstree and end at Rocky Point Community Forest in Georgetown, with trail stops and access points scattered in between.

The Black River provides drinking water for thousands, while it’s forests and vegetation create a critical floodplain to protect surrounding businesses and homes from flooding. It has also served as a local favorite fishing hole for generations of anglers. 

The public engagement phase of a year-long master planning process has launched to help guarantee that the vision for the new state park meets the access + recreational needs of the communities along the river and creates nature-based tourism opportunities to boost the local economy.

With input collected during the master planning process, each trail stop may offer various recreation activities and amenities from primitive campgrounds to picnic shelters, restrooms, hiking trails + parking.

What’s next? The report + master plan will be finalized in December 2021. Construction + development are expected to take a few years. Progress will be shared on the evolving Story Map. 🗺️

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