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A 110-acre tract formerly used to pasture cattle for the historic Hester Dairy in Pickens County is now permanently protected through a partnership between Upstate Forever and a conservation-minded landowner. Located just outside of Easley, the historic Hester Dairy Farm was purchased in the late 1800’s from Robert Elliot Holcombe, the first “citizen” of Easley. Prior to building the first dwelling, store, and train depot in Easley, Holcombe was a farmer in the outlying area but moved into town after the death of his first wife, Caroline Arnold, who is buried there.
The Hester family embraces a long history of farming in the area that stretches from Easley through Dacusville and all the way to Pumpkintown, including the historic Hester Dairy Store. It is this rich agricultural background that inspired Newell Hester to place his property into a conservation easement with Upstate Forever.
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a qualified land trust, which allows the landowner to legally restrict certain land uses from occurring on the property. The protected property not only preserves the unique character and history of the Easley community, but also helps keep working farmlands in production.
With the protection of the historic Hester Dairy farm, Upstate Forever and Mr. Hester are supporting a larger effort to improve water quality in the Saluda River Basin, which is designated by the State of South Carolina as “impaired.” The property includes significant frontage on Burdine Creek, a tributary of Georges Creek and the Saluda River, and contains several wetlands essential to protecting water quality and providing habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. The rest of the property is a mixture of open field and pasture with about half covered in a mix of hardwood and pine forests.
Upstate Forever currently protects over 21,000 acres on 114 properties across the Upstate through voluntary conservation easements.
For more information, contact Scott Park at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Found at the historic Hester Dairy farm by Upstate Forever staff, clockwise from top left: Scottish bristle thistle, five-lined skink, lichen and slime mold, bachelor button and yellow clover, maidenhair fern, and scarlet buckeye