Now Conserved—Mariwill Plantation
Nearly two square miles of privately owned working forest and wildlife habitat in Fairfield County are now conserved, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Congaree Land Trust (CLT), the South Carolina Conservation Bank (SCCB) and the Springer family. Now under conservation easement, this substantial, natural space will remain intact forever, providing economic viability for the surrounding rural community and preserving the family’s legacy of land stewardship.
“We are so thankful to the Springer family and the South Carolina Conservation Bank for making this notable conservation project possible,” says Stuart White, Executive Director, CLT. “We have the incredible job of working with people, like the Springer family, who love the land and wish to leave that legacy for future generations, safeguarding the land, water and quality of life for surrounding communities.”
The property, located near the county seat of Winnsboro and in close proximity to Sumter National Forest, is characterized primarily by managed loblolly pine stands, along with hardwood bottomland forests, wetlands and streams flowing into the Broad River. Due to its large size—1,189.9 acres—the property provides significant habitat for a large variety of wildlife species, a passion for the late Mr. Springer.
“My father’s energy and love for the outdoors was always on display for my sister and I, but reached new heights with his grandchildren. He was always able to use the land and creatures at Mariwill to teach us about conservation, restraint and care,” remarks son, Gary Springer.
Now, the abundant wildlife supported by this land, including species considered of conservation priority concern by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, like the fox squirrel and the rare May white azalea, will be protected. Area-sensitive Neotropical migratory birds, whose declines have been linked to habitat fragmentation on their breeding and wintering grounds, thrive here. And the property’s location near the Broad River will continue to improve the area’s water quality.
“Preventing forest fragmentation and protecting the integrity of South Carolina’s rivers are high priorities for the Conservation Bank,” says SCCB Executive Director, J. Raleigh West III. “By keeping the Mariwill property intact and protected with a conservation easement, we’ll be able to ensure that the timber resources and wildlife habitat on it survive for future generations while simultaneously helping sustain water quality in the Broad River.”
This property joins 9,045 acres conserved by Congaree Land Trust in Fairfield County, bringing the total to 10,044 acres. To date, the Congaree Land Trust has conserved 11,282 acres in the Broad River Basin, which feeds the larger Santee Basin in South Carolina. Conserving these lands maintains the health of our watersheds, protects water quality for citizens and enriches the natural resource economy of our state.
“We became acquainted with Congaree Land Trust late in Dad’s life. It didn’t take him long to understand how a conservation easement could be a great fit for our family land, and I know my Dad would be pleased today,” says Springer. “Through Congaree Land Trust we’ve been able to ensure that Mariwill Timber Plantation will always be a reflection of Dad’s love for nature and commitment to sustainable use through conservation.”