SCDNR wants feedback on Fort Johnson park, conservation area plan

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:39 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:08 PM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Natural resources is looking for the public’s input in a plan to turn 100 acres of coastal land into a large park and conservation area in the Fort Johnson area, at the very tip of James Island.

SCDNR is developing a master plan for the entire peninsula, including the Fort Johnson-May Forest. The idea is to make the 100-acre area more accessible to the public while placing an emphasis on the historic and natural areas of the James Island Peninsula.

This whole project started a year ago when the state spontaneously bought the 23-acre property being sold by the Sisters of Charity of Lady of Mercy. That was property the nuns had held for decades that they sold to the state for $23 million last year.

DNR already owns most of the adjacent property and decided that they want to transition all of this area into a large natural area with trails, historic preservation and outdoor education.

Some of the ideas for the area are to expand the nature trail system, increase outdoor recreation and evening develop outdoor venues for things like weddings.

At a previous community meeting, James Island residents told SCDNR that they want this coastline to remain as natural and undeveloped as possible. Most residents here say they’re happy the land wasn’t bought and turned into condos.

City Councilwoman Caroline Parker says she wants to make the waterfront as accessible as possible.

“We aren’t planting or growing anymore waterfront property so what we have is what we have,” Parker said. “Just having more waterway access, I think, is really important for everyone to use.”

DNR is holding a second community meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at SCDNR’s Marine Research Institute Auditorium, located at 217 Ft. Johnson Rd. Click here for more information on the meeting.

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