New project aims to preserve grand oak trees on James Island

The town of James Island will be taking some extra steps to protect its trees.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 8:18 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2023 at 1:04 AM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The town of James Island will be taking some extra steps to protect its trees.

The James Island Town Council unanimously voted to enact the Camp Road Grand Trees Preservation Project on Thursday.

The project aims to care for and protect grand oak trees along a portion of Camp Road between Dills Bluff and Fort Johnson.

James Island Councilmember and head of the town’s Tree Advisory Council Garrett Milliken said the purpose of the project is to set a precedent for how to take care of trees on James Island.

Milliken said many of the trees in this area along Camp Road are over 100 years old and in need of pruning and vine removal to help improve their overall health.

“It’s about identifying trees that need help, and providing the resources to help them,” Milliken said.

He said the project also prevents the removal of any grand tree unless at least two arborists confirm that they are in poor health.

According to the town’s council agenda, if it is determined that any grand tree in the area should need to be removed, the town administrator has to bring the request to the council for discussion before contacting anyone to begin the removal process.

“Those that are in poor health, we’ll make sure that if they are a safety hazard, that they are removed,” Milliken said. “But only after we get confirmation from more than one arborist that they are in poor health.”

He said trees play a vital role in James Island’s ecosystem and help combat flooding by sucking up standing water.

Mary Fraser, a James Island Resident, said she is no stranger to adversity when it comes to the fight to protect grand oak trees. She said she and others have fought to protect grand oaks on James Island for years and are optimistic that the Camp Road Grand Trees Preservation Project will help prevent the loss of grand oaks in the community.

“I’m so proud of my community,” Fraser said. “They’re really good at getting together on anything that matters. That’s the joy of living in the South on James Island. People really care. They really care.”

James Island Mayor Bill Woolsey said it is always a good thing to take care of trees on the island.