PDLT Protects Wilds Hall on Black Creek
On December 14, 2018, Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) signed a conservation easement agreement with Dr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Wilson on their 86-acre property on Black Creek in Darlington County. After acquiring the property, the Wilsons knew they wanted to do something to conserve its special features including 2,200 feet of frontage on Black Creek, a navigable body of water which is enjoyed by kayakers, fishermen, and other recreationists. The property contains soils that are important for agricultural and timber production and has a historic home built in the 1840’s and listed on the National Historic Register. In addition, the conservation easement protects the scenic view along North Springville Road which is a location of several historic homes.
“As lifetime residents of Darlington County, my wife, Perry and I felt that we needed to do our part in preserving and protecting Black Creek and the historic Springville area”, said Dr. Thomas Wilson. “We are thankful that through our partnership with the Pee Dee Land Trust, Wilds Hall Plantation will flourish as a natural resource for generations to come.”
Wilds Hall is part of a larger network of protected forest lands that ensure habitat connectivity and water quality on Black Creek. Forested wetlands contribute several important wetland functions including water retention, sediment filtration, and nutrient cycling, which in turn impact overall water quality further downstream. Overall, the protection of Wilds Hall will further conservation and protect migratory corridors for wildlife in support of regional and national bird conservation efforts.
“PDLT consolidated with the Black Creek Land Trust in 2014 and, with the addition of Wilds Hall, currently holds conservation easements on nine properties totaling 3,263 acres and owns two nature preserves along Black Creek” stated Seth Cook, PDLT Director of Land Conservation. “It was a pleasure to work on an exceptional project and continue the conservation work on Black Creek, which is such a special place.”
We proudly partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife to assist with our baseline reports. They documented numerous species of trees and shrubs providing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including mammals, migratory songbirds, birds of prey, wading birds, amphibians and reptiles. Wilds Hall is in the range of and contains potential habitat for one federal at-risk species, the spotted turtle, which utilizes freshwater wetlands.
“Wilds Hall is a prime example of a conservation easement project PDLT is proud to add to the network of conserved land in the Pee Dee Watershed,” stated PDLT Executive Director, Lyles Cooper Lyles. “The Wilson’s passion to preserve the legacy of their land is inspiring and will benefit the Black Creek community in perpetuity.”
Pee Dee Land Trust focuses on the Pee Dee watershed, which covers nine+ counties of the Pee Dee region in South Carolina: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg. Its mission is to protect, and to promote an appreciation of, the significant natural, agricultural, and historical resources of the Pee Dee Region through voluntary land conservation and educational programs. Pee Dee Land Trust has a toolbox full of options to help landowners who are interested in conservation such as accepting donations of land or conservation easements. There are endless options of ways to support PDLT as an individual or as an organization, including annual Membership, event sponsorship, hosting experiences, donations to one of the endowments, land donations and planned estate giving opportunities.
With its 71st conservation project to date, Pee Dee Land Trust has now protected over 27,880 acres in the Pee Dee Region. While remaining in private ownership, the lands protected through conservation easements held by PDLT ensure that special places will be available for farming, forestry, and recreation for future generations. Through the use of permanent agreements, PDLT and landowners work as partners to ensure that land use activities on private property are limited in order to preserve key conservation values which benefit the public. These values include open space such as rural scenic views along roads and rivers, habitat for wildlife including game and non-game species, and the protection of farm and forest land to ensure it remains in farming and forestry rather than being converted to other uses.