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Latest South Carolina Project by the Open Space Institute Secures Section of Popular Paddling Creek Near Congaree National Park

Photo Credit: Christine Ellis

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC—Building upon the more than 12,000 acres it has already conserved in South Carolina, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has protected bottomland hardwood swamp adjacent to Congaree National Park, just outside of the City of Columbia. The project safeguards land for old-growth forests while securing a section of, and enhancing public safety around, a popular creek for paddlers.

The approximately 150-acre “Running Lake Creek” tract is named for a creek that is the southern boundary of the property, which also contains large cypress tupelo trees. The land is adjacent to the northern border of Congaree National Park, which holds the largest contiguous tract of old-growth hardwood forests in North America.

“For generations to come, the Running Lake Creek property will be a priceless inheritance, connecting people of all ages to this wonderful landscape,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI is proud to have protected this significant property, and we thank our partners the Friends of Congaree Swamp, National Park Foundation, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and many others for their tireless work on safeguarding the state’s natural resources.”

A single kayak trip may be enough to give a young person an indelible taste of the beauty of the natural world, and new trail systems, paddling docks, and visitor centers are the way to encourage an even deeper and more lasting attachment.
A single kayak trip may be enough to give a young person an indelible taste of the beauty of the natural world, and new trail systems, paddling docks, and visitor centers are the way to encourage an even deeper and more lasting attachment.
Photo Credit: Mac Stone

Protecting the land ensures that paddlers can more safely enjoy Running Lake Creek, a creek that runs through the property and for which the land is named. The creek runs between Congaree National Park to the south and land to the north, formerly owned by the timber company Weyerhauser, which the company leased to a local hunt club. Conservation of the property ensures that paddlers and hunters can maintain distance from each other.

Home to numerous state and world record trees, 27,000-acre Congaree National Park brings 125,000 visitors a year to southern Richland County and is an important economic engine for one of the most economically-depressed areas in South Carolina.

After OSI negotiated the contract for the Running Lake Creek tract, Friends of Congaree Swamp now holds title to the property. In the future, Friends of Congaree Swamp hopes to donate the land to Congaree National Park.

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