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May 22nd, 2023
The Upstate Update is a digital newsletter curated and shared each month that offers insights into Upstate Forever's recent work, highlights upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, and shares other conservation and advocacy news.
We post the Upstate Update here on the Upstate Forever blog each month. If you would like to receive the Upstate Update directly in your email inbox, please sign up for the mailing list.
In the latest issue of the Upstate Advocate, Founder and Senior Advisor Brad Wyche reflects on the difficult decision to leave behind a successful law practice and start an organization to address the immense challenges associated with rapid growth and development in our region:
"I never doubted the urgent need for the organization... But how many people in the Upstate would agree with me? Would I be able to attract enough financial support to hire staff and be successful?"
Two-and-a-half decades later, Upstate Forever has inarguably been successful in achieving Brad's earliest goals of protecting green space, managing land use, improving water quality, and more.
We hope you'll join us in celebrating this momentous milestone. Here are several ways you can learn more about our work and support a greener, brighter future for generations of Upstate residents to come:
Also in the May Upstate Update:
Greenville Dev Code moves forward
The City of Greenville Planning Commission has voted unanimously to recommend the draft Development Code to City Council for adoption. The Code's first reading at Greenville City Council is set for Monday, May 22! Sign up for our Greenville land use planning newsletter to receive updates, and click here to read 5 reasons why UF supports the Greenville Development Code.
SaludaGradeTrail.org now live!
There's a new online home for the future multi-use trail to connect Upstate SC and Western NC: SaludaGradeTrail.org. We're proud to have collaborated with coalition partners Conserving Carolina & PAL, as well as Spartanburg-based marketing firm ALINE, on this new site. Explore the website now — and be sure to sign up for email updates from the Saluda Grade Trail coalition!
Join us for Land Trust Day June 3
Each June, Mast General Store hosts Land Trust Day in celebration of the important work of land trusts like Upstate Forever. This year, Mast General is donating 20% of the Greenville store's sales on Saturday, June 3 to UF! You can also stop by our table in the store from 10 am - 4 pm to chat with our team about how land trusts and stewardship work.
Clean Water Act lawsuit update
In 2020, on behalf of Upstate Forever, South Carolina Trout Unlimited, and Naturaland Trust, the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP) took legal action against the owners and operators of Arabella Farm, a wedding venue located off Scenic Highway 11 in Pickens County.
Since 2017, hundreds of unlawful discharges of sediment-laden stormwater originating from the property have flowed directly into adjacent streams and downstream into the Eastatoe River, Little Eastatoe Creek and Lake Keowee, clogging and degrading valuable water resources that support the area’s trout population and related recreational activities. Large quantities of sediment emanating from the site have settled onto properties owned by Naturaland Trust and protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by Upstate Forever.
While the legal case has been ongoing and meandering for three years now, we received a positive update this month: On May 15, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Arabella Farm’s petition to reverse a Fourth Circuit Court decision and dismiss our lawsuit.
Safeguarding water quality is at the core of Upstate Forever’s mission. As custodians of the conservation values of the impacted eased property, it is our responsibility to ensure that its natural resources are protected. We will continue fighting to hold Arabella Farm accountable for the damage done to Upstate land and water resources. Read more
Read more in this month's email newsletter