1 month ago

Monitoring with Mark - Summer 2024


I was treated to cool mornings and warm afternoons late last month as I visited several properties in Kershaw, Clarendon, Sumter, and Williamsburg Counties. Here are a few highlights!

This beautiful tract in Kershaw County, not currently protected, boasts a historic schoolhouse. CLT is working closely with the landowners to place a conservation easement on their property. I spied a large black fox squirrel in a tree while I was there.

School House1 Squirrel2

The centerpiece of this conservation easement in Clarendon County is this large Carolina Bay.

Carolina Bay3

CLT’s first conservation easement in Clarendon County is located near the town of Paxville. Bryan, the land manager at this easement, tells me that the bream in this pond are plentiful and ferocious!

Silver Lakes Large Pond

This center-pivot irrigation system waters one of the many agricultural fields on this 600-acre conservation easement, also located in Clarendon County.


This is a lovely pond located on a conservation easement in Sumter County.


Over the years, I have watched this old home on a 400-acre Sumter County conservation easement slowly succumb to gravity and the elements.


Located on the same Sumter County easement, this pond supports a large variety of wildlife, including the bird perched on the branch near the top of this tree. I think it’s a cormorant, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Pondtree8 Bird9

This Williamsburg County property located in Salters has been in the same family since 1800.


This photo was taken at another conservation easement in Williamsburg County. It is an extremely well-maintained 3,000-acre property located near Greeleyville. Thanks to its owner’s vision and generosity, it protects 8 miles (holy cow!) of the Santee River’s northern bank.


During these two days of monitoring, I logged nearly 350 miles and passed through eight counties. What a delight it is to witness firsthand the unspoiled natural beauty that still exists in central South Carolina! Congaree Land Trust is so proud of all of our landowners, not just for their foresight and generosity in placing conservation easements on their properties to begin with, but also for all of their hard work as they endeavor to keep their lands in such excellent shape. We South Carolinians owe all of these landowners a huge debt of gratitude, as we are all beneficiaries of their stewardship.