A new $35,000 environmental grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation will soon help move a new 25-mile section of the Palmetto Trail closer to reality.
The grant will help create two new passages between the current eastern end of the trail’s Fort Jackson Passage in Richland County and the Wateree Passage. This section is a critical missing link in the eventual 500-mile Palmetto Trail. The funding will allow PCF to connect more miles in 2020.
“Palmetto Conservation Foundation is fortunate to work with corporate partners like Dominion Energy that focus grants and human resources on preserving natural habitats and making nature accessible for public use,” Interim Executive Director Mary Roe said.
In addition to grants, Roe observed, “Dominion Energy also has an active community volunteer program. An experienced crew of volunteers have built trail bridges on the Fort Jackson Passage.”
Trail construction will involve PCF staff and the Palmetto Conservation Corps, with special emphasis on recruiting military volunteers. Multiple workday opportunities will be available for volunteers from Dominion Energy and local military posts.
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“Dominion Energy is proud to support Palmetto Conservation Foundation’s work to protect natural resources within the regions we serve,” said Rodney Blevins, president and CEO of Dominion Energy Southeast Energy Group. “It is a privilege to provide funds as well as land for the trail expansion. South Carolina residents and visitors will be able to enjoy it for years to come.”
The proposed new route will take hikers and mountain bikers up Cook's Mountain, which rises 372 feet above sea level and is the highest natural feature in Richland County. The new trail will connect at the current Wateree Passage trailhead close to Dominion Energy's Wateree Station property on the Wateree River.
The Palmetto Trail is a free public resource that showcases South Carolina’s natural beauty and history and provides residents and visitors of all abilities a venue for active outdoor recreation.
The trail’s 27 passages, at present, stretch about 360 miles across 14 counties from Walhalla in the Blue Ridge Mountains to Awendaw on the Lowcountry coast. The Trail is South Carolina’s longest hiking–biking trail and largest off-road trail construction project. About 140 miles remain to be built. With trailheads all along its length, the Palmetto Trail is easily accessed from anywhere in the state.
For more information and downloadable maps, visit www.palmettoconservation.org.