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Where’s South Carolina’s Multi-Billion Dollar Industry? Step Outside To Find It.

If you want to see some of South Carolina’s economic engines at full throttle, dust off your hiking boots and block off a few hours of your next Saturday.  You’ll find some of our state’s greatest assets where you may least expect to: outdoors.  And, while you’re at it, you may find something far more valuable: peace of mind.

Did you know that the only cascade in South Carolina’s sandhills region is just a short drive from downtown Lexington?  Among the native longleaf pine and unusual geologic formations, you’ll find that small waterfall at Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve in Lexington County.  With this trail map and the directions below, your next adventure in the great outdoors is just a few minutes away.

The 460-acre Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve, named for the sandstone rock formation you’ll see there, is co-managed by The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  Enjoy the rock for its natural beauty, but resist the urge to touch it so that future generations will enjoy it, too.

When you hit the trail at the Preserve, you may see signs of past fire in the forest. Trained professionals have applied controlled burns under safe conditions to nurture the longleaf pine ecosystem that actually depends on periodic fire to thrive.  Around this time of year, you may even spot a crane-fly orchid in bloom.  As you continue your hike, don’t forget to listen.  What’s that rustling sound?  Could be a salamander, skink, or beetle scurrying from your footfall.  That rapid hammering is probably a woodpecker fast at work.

We’re lucky that South Carolina is home to an abundance of natural treasures like Peachtree Rock for us to enjoy.  These areas fuel our economy, too.  According to the most recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey data, over $2 billion was spent on wildlife-related activities in South Carolina in 2011.  Combined with other related sectors, such as farming and forestry, recent studies reveal that nature-based industries add roughly $54 billion and 463,000 jobs to our state’s economy.  We simply can’t afford to take these natural assets for granted.

Amidst the hustle of work and other commitments, we all need time outdoors to relax and recharge.  Put on those hiking shoes and step outside this weekend.  You won’t regret it!

Directions:

  • Take Highway 215 (302/Edmund Hwy) south, past the airport toward Edmund.
  • Travel until S.C. Highway 6 veers off to the left towards Swansea.
  • Follow Highway 6 across railroad overpass for 0.5 mile.
  • Turn left onto Peachtree Rock Road after large Bethel United Methodist Church sign.
  • The parking area is immediately on your right.
  • The lot is unguarded so lock your car and hide any valuables from view.
  • From the parking area, blue and orange markers lead you to the rock.  Then the single orange dots mark a 0.5 mile trail and the single blue dots mark a 1.5 mile trail.

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