Rocky Point

Rocky Point Community Forest Fact Sheet

Background and Objectives

Formed by a unique partnership between local government and NGOs, Rocky Point Community Forest is the first park of its kind in the area.  As a public-use community forest it serves to achieve three objectives; Conservation and Restoration, Recreation, and Education.  Winyah Rivers Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Open Space Institute hold title to the land while Georgetown County, through a long term lease agreement, manages the park and public use of the site.  A team of advisers from other local entities have worked with core partners to develop and will continue to guide the project in their various fields of expertise and experience. Together our mission is to serve the public by protecting and restoring this ecologically important piece of land while providing recreation and education opportunities on the Black River and its associated upland forests.  Further, by managing the property as a community forest and applying sustainable forestry practices the condition of the forests will be improved while generating a modest revenue to maintain the property for the long term.

For nearly 70 years Rocky Point was owned by International Paper and was managed by Georgetown County Parks and Recreation as a public use park and boat ramp.  When the property was sold in 2006 this much loved site was closed to public access.  In order to reopen the site to the public and to protect the land from development the partners came together to develop and implement a plan for the restoration and long-term sustainability and management of the site.  

The site will provide a boat ramp and passive recreation opportunities such as hiking and mountain biking to the public.  The property is composed of wetlands, both bottomland and upland hardwood and planted loblolly pine stands.  The pine will be transitioned to longleaf pine (a threatened native habitat) where appropriate and the rest will be sustainably managed to maintain healthy habitat for our native wildlife as well as to generate revenue to be invested exclusively into the site.  This will provide financial means for the site as well as a forestry educational opportunity.  The site will serve as an outdoor classroom for nearby academic institutions.

The land was purchased at the end of 2015 with grants from the supporters (see list above) and in the past two years a steering committee was formed, a 5 year forest management plan was adopted, and a strategy for the management and reopening of the site to the public including the restoration of the boat ramp and the development of a trail network was initiated.  

To the benefit of this project, Georgetown County holds land adjacent to the 462 acres of Rocky Point adding to the acreage for use by the public.  The Department of Parks and Recreation just opened a brand new recreation facility on Choppee Rd. that can serve as management headquarters as well as a jump off point for park visitors.

 

The Land

The 462 acre site is composed of 134 acres of wetlands (114 mature tidal forested freshwater, 17 acres of scrub shrub, and 3 acres of freshwater emergent) and 328 acres of associated uplands.  The park secures 1.8 miles of river and creekfront to be protected for access and enjoyment by all. On a larger scale this tract, now protected, helps to connect 12,000 acres of protected land throughout the Black River watershed.

The park is also home to a historic family (Coachman) cemetery. Local experts will research, catalogue, and make recommendations for the protection of this cultural asset.

 

Project Update and Upcoming Events

Since the purchase of the property many aspects of the overall model/plan have been initiated including the:

  • Development of a overall site-specific management plan/ MOU

  • Forest Management Plan (developed and administered by Sabine and Waters/ Dan Scheffing)

    • Burning, harvesting, and replanting (2018-2019) of predetermined acres.

  • Restoration of the boat ramp

    • Project has been submitted to SC DNR and pending their approval and the project bid process the ramp should be opened in summer 2018.

 

In 2018 we look forward to the restoration of the boat ramp and the reopening of the park to the public.  January 27th we are inviting the community to show their love for this property by joining us onsite for a pre-opening cleanup.  Stay tuned for details.

 

PARTNERS

The Nature Conservancy

Katherine Malloy

 

Tom Dooley

Winyah Rivers Foundation

Emma Boyer

 

Ron Hartman

 

Bob Moran

Georgetown County

Beth Goodale

Open Space Institute Maria Whitehead

 

ADVISERS

Sabine & Waters

Dan Scheffing

SC DNR

Kayla Brantley

SC Forestry Commission

Ron Holt

 

James Hall

 

GRANTORS

South Carolina Conservation Bank

North American Wetland Conservation Act/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Duke Water Resources Fund

Carolina Bird Club

Butler Conservation Fund

Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation

 

Contact: Georgetown County Parks Director, Beth Goodale, 843-545-3550

www.WinyahRivers.org

 
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