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Land trust benefits us all

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By The Staff

When you look at a map of the Heritage Tract, you see slivers of property cut out on both sides of the Catawba River in Lancaster and Chester counties and dipping into Fairfield County. The state of South Carolina bought the 1,540-acre tract last fall for $5.4 million.

The Katawba Valley Land Trust bought 200 acres in the same vicinity from Crescent Resources earlier this year. The nonprofit land trust has received donated conservation easements from Crescent for 161 acres with water frontage on Fishing Creek in Chester County and Camp Creek in Lancaster County.

Lindsay Pettus, president of the land trust, said the acquisition of all this land will ensure that this property all in the vicinity of where the great falls of the Catawba used to flow will remain untouched by developers for generations to come.

And that's good for us and all of our descendants who will live in this area. Though the housing market is in a downward cycle now, we all know it will pick up again. And we all know that Charlotte, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country, will continue to grow, and much of that growth, as it has been in the last decade, will be into York, Lancaster and Chester counties.

The Catawba Ridge development along the river here in Lancaster County and the planned 5,000-acre Montrose Plantation development off Interstate 77 in Chester County are designed to take advantage of this expected growth.

The face of these rural counties are going to drastically change over the next few generations when Charlotte's sprawl dips deep into Lancaster and Chester counties.

But thanks to environmental stewards like Pettus and those he works with at the Katawba Valley Land Trust, we can be assured that this property won't be touched by developers. Its woodlands and tributaries will be protected, as will historical sites on the property, such as one where the ruins of a grist mill from the early 1800s stand.

We're grateful the Katawba Valley Land Trust exists and that it's taking such a proactive stance in this region to preserve such property.

Our descendants will be thanking the trust for having the foresight to acquire property like that on the Heritage Tract and the adjacent properties for years to come.

We'd like to thank them now for the work. And we hope you will, too.