Waterfowl association protects land

                The lands surrounding Camp Leopold and Camp Woodie will remain undeveloped in perpetuity. Records show several tracts of land near Lake Marion have been placed into conservation easement. The properties lie south and east of Elliot's Landing and run parallel to Old River Road. Kennette Trail runs through the northern portion of the parcel referred to in records as the Boise Cascade tract. The other parcels are the Stewart/Liberty Life tract and the Payne tract. Congaree Land Trust paid $232,050 to the South Carolina Waterfowl Association to place a total of 232.05 acres into permanent easement on July 18. "It's not riparian land but it's fairly close," said Mary Crockett, land protection director for the Columbia-based land trust. "It conserves large acreage to remain in timber and agriculture." The easement follows the deed and not the landowner, she said. "And it's a way for all that work they (landowners) put into the land and wishing it to stay that way. It's a wish for the future. It's a forever document," she said. "The whole idea is to have it for wildlife," said John Williamson, who serves as secretary and treasurer of the non-profit waterfowl association. "You won't see houses, you won't see trailer parks and you won't see industries." Each year thousands of children enjoy Camp Leopold and Camp Woodie, he said, and learn valuable lessons about the outdoor world. Camp Woodie teaches youngsters all about fishing, hunting, waterfowling and handling firearms safely and responsibly. Camp Leopold is aimed toward learning lessons about the natural world through science and biology. "One complements what they learn in school and the other complements outdoor skills," he said. This most recent conservation easement comes on the heels of 192 acres of land -- some of which borders Lake Marion and Santee National Wildlife Refuge -- being placed permanently into easement in late June. One hundred and seventy three acres ¬†along the Sumter-Clarendon County line were placed in easement about two weeks ago under the auspice of the Wetlands Reserve Program. "We just need to protect these fragile areas," Williamson said. "We need to get every acre we can under conservation easements to save for our kids and grandkids."  


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