SC joins Black River conservation efforts with development of new state park

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2023 at 7:59 PM EDT
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ANDREWS, S.C. (WCSC) - Progress is underway on South Carolina’s first state park in over 20 years.

The Black River State Park will consist of several state-owned parcels of land along the Black River, making it the first riverine park in the state’s history, according to State Park officials.

“You can put in in Kingstree, go all the way down through Andrews, and take out down in Georgetown,” Director of South Carolina State Parks, Paul McCormack, said. “If you wanted to do that and camp every night along the way, there will be public lands for you to camp at.”

The state is currently working on infrastructure on each parcel of land, adding roads and ramps so that the river is accessible to the public.

McCormack said they hope to open the park to the public in the spring of next year with roads and ramps in place. Over time, he said they will build out the rest of the infrastructure.

Each site will have different elements. For example, one may have riverside camping and treehouses, and another may have an airstream village, he said.

“It’s incredibly beautiful,” McCormack said. “And it’s been incredibly inaccessible to the citizens of South Carolina.”

With the undertaking of this project, the state is joining a quarter of a century-long effort to conserve land around the Black River.

Between private owners, foundations, and now the state, over 25,000 acres of land along 70 miles of the river has been conserved, Dana Beach, founder of the Coastal Conservation League, said.

“The beauty of the state park is that the state has now come in on top of that and added a public access piece,” Beach said.

Beach said it’s important for the public to experience the Black River for themselves, so they can understand why it needs to be conserved.

“Unless we have the level of knowledge that you’ll be able to get at the state park, then all of this protection will come to a screeching halt because nobody will know anything about it,” Beach said.