CHARLESTON, SC (Oct. 23, 2020) — The Open Space Institute (OSI) and the U.S. Forest Service today announced the addition of three properties, totaling 325 acres, to the Sumter National Forest in the Piedmont ecoregion of South Carolina. The transfer of the Price, Mathis and Gilchrist properties—within the Long Cane and Enoree Ranger Districts—is the result of a combination of funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and a donation of land by OSI.
The Price and Mathis additions in Edgefield and McCormick counties provide important habitat for the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter freshwater mussel and provide important watershed protection for the Savannah River basin. The Gilchrist addition in Union County was about to be sold for development. It was the site of an illegal dump that has now been cleaned up, to benefit the Broad River basin.
“OSI is proud to protect these critical inholdings to expand the Sumter National Forest and protect the endangered Carolina heelsplitter,” stated OSI Senior Vice President Nate Berry, who is based in Charleston and oversees OSI’s work in South Carolina. “Strategic land conservation plays a fundamental role in helping to protect habitat and ensure a better quality of life for South Carolina. We look forward to continuing this successful partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and other conservation partners around the state.”
“The Sumter National Forest appreciates the efforts of the OSI to protect inholdings within the highly fragmented Piedmont landscape,” said Forest Supervisor Rick Lint. “On our Long Cane District, the Mathis and Price tracts are located on tributaries that feed directly into important Carolina heelsplitter habitat.”