How Upstate Forever is responding to COVID-19

Our Greenville and Spartanburg offices have closed while Upstate Forever staff work from home to help protect the health of each other, our families, and our communities. But while we are not together in the office, we remain together in our continued efforts to protect our region's critical lands, waters, and unique character.

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Funding for Conservation in the Upstate

Protect More Land

In the face of rapid growth, more funding is needed to protect the Upstate’s special places while we still have the opportunity.

Land protection is the key to protecting what we love about the Upstate. When undertaken strategically, land protection promotes high drinking water quality, recreational opportunities, local food production, biological diversity, and future environmental health.

Many partners across the Upstate are already hard at work to conserve special places, but that process can be slow and expensive. The solution is increased direct funding for land protection. Funding opens doors to protect even more land on an accelerated timeline.

Why is funding so important?

With additional local funding, we can:

Protect more of the Upstate’s iconic forests, mountains, fields, and waterways forever.

Nationally recognized gems —places like Jones Gap State Park, Stumphouse Mountain, Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, Paris Mountain, Cragmoor Farms, Nine Times Forest, and Scenic Highway 11 — define our region and make the Upstate a beautiful place to call home. As development pressure increases, the time is now to preserve even more iconic places forever.

Secure more conservation projects right here in the Upstate.

The recently reauthorized South Carolina Conservation Bank is a fantastic resource for conservation funding, but to be more effective at this critical time, its funding must be increased by the legislature. Plus, because the Bank’s grants are distributed statewide, the Upstate must compete with many worthy projects across South Carolina for limited conservation funds. Increasing the Bank’s funding will certainly help, but we also need additional local funding sources that will exclusively benefit conservation projects right here in the Upstate.

Offer matching funds that give the Upstate a competitive edge in securing federal, state, and private grants for conservation.

For example, both the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the USDA’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program offer significant funding to protect land, but insist that local match dollars be brought to the table. With readily available funding, we are better positioned to seize these opportunities and ensure more grants go to local Upstate projects.

Open doors for more landowners to protect their land with a permanent conservation easement.

Funding removes financial barriers for conservation-minded landowners and allows them to rest easy knowing their property is preserved for generations to come.

Take Action:

A fund to protect more land

Upstate Forever and conservation partners are working on establishing a local fund for land protection to be held at the Greenville Community Foundation. Gifts made to this fund will go directly to support highly critical land protection projects in the Upstate.

This initiative is still in the planning stages, but if you’re interested in making a lead gift to the fund, please contact Aldon Knight, Director of Development & Community Relations at Upstate Forever, at aknight@upstateforever.org or Bob Morris, President of the Greenville Community Foundation, at rmorris@cfgreenville.org.

Photo by Mac Stone / Naturaland Trust

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