Conserving Generations of Burgess Farms
For five generations, the Burgess farm has been working farmland and a haven for wildlife. Thanks to Williamsburg County landowners Carol Norment and Barney Easterling, the property on Boggy Swamp will remain that way forever. Earlier this summer Ms. Norment and Mr. Easterling, niece and nephew of the late Edward Carol (E.C.) Burgess, Jr., chose to leave a lasting legacy of conservation by ensuring the property remains in its current state.
The 1,013-acre property has 850 acres of Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance and fronts on Boggy Swamp, a tributary to the Scenic Black River for over two miles.
“Ensuring that future generations continue to enjoy and appreciate the splendor and beauty of our natural world, particularly here at home, is of paramount importance to our family,” said Barney Easterling.
PDLT worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to identify several priority species that are rare or at-risk that would benefit from the property including Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, tiger salamander, Bachman’s sparrow, bobwhite quail, green heron, spotted turtle, and Southern hognose snake.
Seth Cook, PDLT Director of Land Conservation noted the significance of this property to the mission of the Land Trust. “It was great to work with a family with such a commitment to conservation. Protecting from future fragmentation is not only important for maintaining wildlife habitats but also for keeping working farmland viable. This project is a prime example of both.”
With rich historical, natural and agricultural resources, the Black River watershed is a focus area for Pee Dee Land Trust. The protection of Burgess Farms adds to the growing network of privately protected lands in Williamsburg County, expanding the blue and green belts critical to our way of life.
“Permanent protection of the forested buffers along Boggy Swamp was a key component to this conservation project”, said PDLT Executive Director, Lyles Cooper Lyles. “The public benefits of water filtration, flood mitigation, wildlife habitat and scenic views these buffers preserve is well worth our efforts. The top notch sustainable forest management plan that will contribute to the local forestry industry for future generations and prime soils available for food production on Burgess Farms, helped make this partnership a true win for our entire community.”
The South Carolina Conservation Bank was a key partner in the protection of the Burgess farm. “Clean drinking water is a critical resource for our state. The best way to ensure water quality is the protection of the forests that adjoin our waterways,” commented Raleigh West, Executive Director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “Burgess Farm, with its frontage on Boggy Swamp has a direct and positive impact on the quality of water entering the Black River.”
Seth Cook- PDLT Director of Land Protection, Barney & Lou Easterling-Burgess Farms landowners,
Brad Easterling- son of Barney & Lou (joining us via web meeting