Partnership bringing Georgetown County park back to life

Partnership bringing Georgetown County park back to life

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - History is repeating itself in Georgetown County, an old boat landing is being restored.

Rocky Point's 462 acres will be developed into coastal South Carolina's first public use community forest.

"There are so many limitless opportunities here, for recreation for water access, for camping, for hiking for educational forest," Beth Goodale with Georgetown County Recreation said.

This means everlasting opportunities for Georgetown County.

"This will be preserved as forest, as recreational space for future generations and that can't change now," Goodale said.

Thanks to the partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Winyah Rivers Foundation, Ocean Space Institute and Georgetown County.

The three primary objectives behind Rocky Point Community Forest are for public use and recreation, forest restoration, and education and outreach.
The first priority is working with DNR to get the design finished for the boat landing.

Georgetown County will be managing the property. Winyah Rivers Foundation will be holding the title of the land.

"Our ultimate goal is to protect and improve water quality," Winyah Rivers Foundation Waccamaw Riverkeeper Emma Gerald Boyer said. "People should care about clean water especially in this region because we get our drinking water out of our rivers."

After International Paper sold the property in 2007 to a timber investment management organization, the new owners closed both the park and the landing, according to a press release.

"Losing this was really a blow because people had been coming and bringing their children for years and years," Goodale said. "It's been here for generations, so it's really gonna be special to get it back open."

Had this land been used for housing development, years ago, many of these opportunities would have been lost.

Boyer said the funders played a big role in making this happen: North American Wetlands Conservation Act Program South Carolina Conservation Bank Duke Energy's Water Resources Fund Carolina Bird Club Bunnelle Foundation Gilbert Butler Special Projects Fund, a fund held at the Open Space Institute Land Trust.

According to Goodale, it should  take about six months to bid construction for the boat landing which should open in about a year.

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