CHARLESTON, SC (Oct. 26, 2020) — Land that was once part of Peachtree Plantation on the Santee River — owned by Declaration signer Thomas Lynch III and celebrated by poet laureate Archibald Rutledge — will now belong to the public, as the latest addition to the Francis Marion National Forest by the Open Space Institute (OSI) in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Charleston County Greenbelt Program.
Located just north of the Town of McClellanville, the 1,450-acre White Oak Atlantic Creosote tract contains an extensive network of dirt roads through some of the most beautiful native longleaf pine woods in the Lowcountry. The property was purchased from White Oak Forestry Corporation — a local corporation that stewards and conserves thousands of acres of significant forest in and around the Santee Delta.
Bordered on three sides by the quarter-million-acre national forest, the property sits across Highway 17 from the 22,000-acre Santee Coastal Reserve and beyond that, the 60,000-acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. White Oak is the largest-ever acquisition by the Charleston County Greenbelt Program. Its 1,450 acres also represent the biggest private inholding left in the Francis Marion and the seventh addition to the national forest by OSI — which has conserved more than 8,100 acres in and around the forest since completing its first project there in 2014. In addition to support from the Charleston County Greenbelt Program, the permanent protection of the property was made possible with funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
OSI Senior Vice President Nate Berry, who is based in Charleston and oversees OSI’s work in South Carolina, offered his
appreciation for the team effort that brought about the important conservation victory. “We thank our talented conservation
partners for their tireless efforts to protect South Carolina’s unparalleled natural resources for future generations. This
momentous conservation project demonstrates OSI’s commitment to this beautiful state and its beloved Francis Marion
National Forest — making the forest more accessible and enjoyable for the public, while preserving crucial habitat for
countless species of plants and animals,” said Berry.