Pacolet Area Conservancy celebrates twenty-five years of land conservation

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, June 15, 2014


The Pacolet Area Conservancy, Inc. is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year. Visionary citizens, concerned over the loss of important natural resources, pulled together and created in March of 1989 an organization to “preserve the natural heritage of this area with its wooded mountains, its streams with waterfalls, its scenic roadways accented by meadows and areas of historic importance, its archaeological sites, its natural areas and its fertile bottomlands.”
The Pacolet region was defined as including Polk County and the portion of Spartanburg and Greenville Counties north of Highway 11 including Hogback and Glassy Mountains.
PAC’s first office was in the Feagan Building in Columbus. There have been subsequent offices in Lynn and now in Tryon.
The original board was made of Allen (Bud) Slater, President, George Thomas Moore, Vice President, Suzanne Austell (Martin), Secretary, Horace Smith, Treasurer, J. David Parkinson, George A. Stinson, Earl Thompson, Thomas J. Troup, Henry W. Welch, Norman G. Wilder, and Samuel W. White, Jr. Melissa Warren served as the first Executive Director.
PAC’s first conservation easement was donated by Abbott Washburn in 1992. Since then, PAC has protected 60 additional properties through the method of conservation easements.
In addition to land protected through conservation easements, PAC also owns twenty-six properties. The first property PAC acquired was the 27 acre Haythorn tract, in 1993. Barbara Haythorn gave the land as a nature preserve in memory of her husband, Will.
Today, PAC representatives are proud to proclaim that over 8532 acres have been protected. The vast majority of land is located in Polk County, but since the scope of work is in the North Pacolet watershed, land has also been protected in neighboring Spartanburg County, S.C. Other parcels lie in Greenville County, S.C., Henderson County, N.C., and Transylvania County, N.C.
PAC has long adhered to the national land trust’s association, the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices. PAC is also a proud member of Blue Ridge Forever and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
Current Board of Director Alan Leonard proclaims the work of the organization by saying, “PAC has opened my eyes to the many special and unique features of this place where I have spent most of my life.   PAC is ‘close to the land’ and is a great asset to our area by saving valuable parts of our area for the future.”
PAC receives funding from individual donations, grants, and special fundraising events throughout the year.
PAC is a 501©(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve natural resources with emphasis on the lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and our goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices.
PAC – saving the places you love.
– article submitted
by Mary Walter

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