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Greenville- and Spartanburg-based conservation organization Upstate Forever protected 2,176 acres of private and public farmlands, forests, and greenspace across the 10-county Upstate South Carolina region in 2020. Partner projects where Upstate Forever was integral to the effort’s success comprise an additional 713 acres.
Conservation projects completed in 2020 include:
Also protected were 81 acres in Pickens County that are part of a nearly 800-acre property purchased by Naturaland Trust with the support of the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the USDA Community Forest Program.
“We are immensely proud of the land protection successes our team accomplished in 2020 despite significant challenges the ongoing pandemic created,” said Scott Park, Glenn Hilliard Director of Land Conservation for Upstate Forever. “This momentum has carried into the new year with several additional projects completed in early 2021 and several thousand additional acres forecasted to be protected across the Upstate this year.”
Upstate Forever protects land in partnership with landowners through conservation easements, voluntary contracts that allow the landowner to legally restrict certain land uses from occurring on their property, such as the development of residential subdivisions, commercial or industrial operations, while allowing traditional rural land uses, such as farming, grazing, hunting, and timbering to continue. This agreement is permanent and remains with the land even after it has been sold or willed to heirs.
Since its inception in 1998 by founder Brad Wyche, Upstate Forever’s nationally accredited land trust has permanently protected approximately 25,800 acres through voluntary conservation easements in partnership with landowners and other conservation organizations.