County protects 24 acres for public use on St. Helena Island

3 mins read

From staff reports

Beaufort County Council, through the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program, has protected 24 acres of waterfront property on St. Helena Island by purchasing the property for $860,000, where it will be added to the inventory of lands available to County residents as passive parks.

“The protection of this property will ensure all residents have safe and available access to the water – for fishing or a water view – and that all can enjoy our salt marshes. This property could easily have been developed into another gated community, but that is not what St Helena needs or wants. Instead, residents will benefit from unobstructed water access and enjoyment of nature,” said York Glover, District 3 Council Member.

The property, informally known as “Bermuda Bluff,” lies outside the Bermuda Bluff neighborhood. Still, the protected property is not part of that gated community and will remain open and accessible by all. Beaufort County currently owns a small in-holding, and it is frequented by local fishermen and residents who can enjoy water access and the view of Parris Island and the Port Royal Sound. The addition of the 24 acres will add to this County-owned property and increase public access to the water and maritime forest.

“This property will be an excellent addition to the Passive Parks Program and will provide a great opportunity for the public to enjoy the beauty of the Sea Islands on future nature trails,” Passive Parks Manager Stefanie Nagid said in a release.

The property is 19.97 acres of maritime forest and upland hammock – the remaining 4 acres are high salt marsh surrounding the island. The property is bordered by tidal creeks, agricultural fields, and the Bermuda Bluff gated community. Access is Bermuda Bluff Road.

The property meets the goals of the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program to provide public access to the water and to connect protected landscapes. The nearby protected property includes Scott Hill Farms, Longwood, Bay Point Vistas, Lands End Plantation, and Fort Fremont.

To date, the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program has protected more than 26,000 acres throughout Beaufort County. Some land is protected with conservation easements and some is protected as part of the Beaufort County Passive Parks Program.

All funding for land protection comes from the voter-approved bond referendum, most recently approved in 2018. For more information visit www.ruralandcritical.org.

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