CHARLESTON, SC (Oct. 20, 2022)—The Open Space Institute-led Master Plan for the Black River Initiative was recognized today by the state chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) with an Award of Excellence, one of ASLA’s top accolades.
The Black River Initiative Master Plan, commissioned by the Open Space Institute (OSI), The Nature Conservancy, and South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), creates a blueprint for a series of linked riverside parks — including the state’s first new state park in 20 years — along a 70-mile stretch of South Carolina’s Black River.
“The Black River Initiative Master Plan lays out an achievable plan for providing the people of Williamsburg and Georgetown counties with improved access to the beautiful river in their backyard,” said OSI Vice President and Director of Land for the Southeast, Dr. Maria Whitehead. “OSI is truly honored by this recognition, and we thank the South Carolina chapter of the ASLA for their support of this transformative initiative.”
Spearheaded by Earth Design — and guided by OSI’s Dr. Whitehead, OSI’s Michaela Roberts (AICP), and SCPRT’s Terry Hurley — the Master Plan was developed by Craig Gaulden Davis, Arnett Muldrow, and ADC Engineering, Inc.
During the Master Planning process, the team explored recreational and education opportunities along the river, focusing on Williamsburg and Georgetown counties and the historic communities of Kingstree, Andrews, and Choppee. Throughout the effort, the team sought input from local residents and emphasized the goal of providing equitable access for communities that have experienced past marginalization.
The finished Master Plan highlights opportunities to protect habitat and cultural resources, and focuses on rural economic opportunity, improving access to nature-based recreation, and mitigating the impacts of climate change — a critical concern for residents of this low-lying region of South Carolina.