City Of Sumter Completes Purchase Of 694 Acres Near Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina

May 21, 2014

Photo by Jason Johnson

Newly purchased forestland near Sumter, SC. Photo by Jason Johnson.

Plans to create urban forest and expand public recreational access on property

SUMTER, S.C. —The City of Sumter, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, has completed the purchase of a 694-acre property, known as Kel-Sam Farms, located less than a mile from Shaw Air Force Base. Over the next several months, the City intends to place a conservation easement on the property that will prevent development near the military installation and preserve the land’s natural resources. In addition, the City will consider and evaluate opportunities to sustainably manage the property for timber, while offering public trails for hiking, biking and equestrian activities.

“This land acquisition will limit incompatible uses adjacent to Shaw, while over time it will provide additional recreational choices to the citizens of Sumter and the airmen and soldiers at Shaw,” stated Mayor Joe McElveen.

The Conservation Fund—a national nonprofit that specializes in conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs—has been working with private and public partners through the Midlands Area Joint Installation Consortium (MAJIC) to protect properties at the intersection of military and conservation priorities.  The Fund assisted the City in the purchase of the former Kel-Sam Farms and secured funding for the project from the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI). The City also provided funding to finalize the purchase.

“This effort is a wonderful example of how the goals of a variety of partners can be achieved through effective collaboration,” said Jason Johnson South Carolina Director of The Conservation Fund. “Not only does the Air Force gain additional buffer land in close proximity to the base and flight paths, but the City of Sumter is able to protect a large open space with great potential for public recreation on future trails and revenue generation through sustainably harvested timber. We are grateful to the Department of Defense and the South Carolina Conservation Bank for providing the funding to enable this purchase.”

“We are glad that the Conservation Bank was able to partner in this venture with the Conservation Fund and the City of Sumter that will bring many benefits not only to the City and its residents, but also to the Air Force at the nearby base,” said Marvin Davant, Executive Director of the S.C. Conservation Bank. “Conserving this property for future generations to use and enjoy is a great occasion that the Conservation Bank is proud to be able to support.”  


About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.

About the City of Sumter

The City of Sumter, with a population of 42,000, has deep historic roots going back to the 1740’s. This progressive, patriotic community has achieved national prominence in business and leisure since incorporating in 1845. Agriculture, manufacturing, health care and a strong military presence have accompanied Sumter into the 21st century. From world-famous Swan Lake Iris Gardens and the historic Sumter Opera House to the 24-court Palmetto Tennis Center and the outdoor adventure lover’s Manchester State Forest, Sumter is known for its history, rich culture and active lifestyles. www.sumtersc.gov

Press Release Contacts

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org

Eric Shytle | City of Sumter | 803-774-3953 | eshytle@sumter-sc.com