South Carolina’s Lowcountry is a region of unique and vibrant natural splendor. Here, at the eastern edge of the state, the sweeping beaches of sea islands converge with lush tidal marshes, threaded with rivers and creeks and bounded by centuries-old maritime forests. It’s a landscape that teems with biodiversity and beauty, and residents here are impassioned about protecting it.
The vibrant settlement of Palmetto Bluff has gone to particular lengths to protect this thriving ecosystem—by establishing a Conservancy dedicated to maintaining the natural integrity of its 20,000 Lowcountry acres. Through a combination of efforts, including designation of protected zones, wildlife surveys, green building initiatives, and educational programs for residents, Palmetto Bluff has succeeded in keeping this piece of the Lowcountry in the pristine state it has enjoyed for thousands of years.
The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
With a gorgeous location between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia, Palmetto Bluff sits at the confluence of three rivers—the May, Cooper, and New—and encompasses 32 miles of river coastline. The property also features dense forests of palmetto and moss-draped live oak trees, as well as sweeping expanses of estuarine marsh. Hundreds of plant, bird, mammal, and marine species make their home here. From its inception, Palmetto Bluff was created with conservation in mind. During the community’s earliest stages of development, the Conservancy was founded so that every aspect of its design—4,000 homesites, villages of cheerful eateries and arts venues, expansive sport facilities—prioritized the protection of the surrounding landscape. That all-encompassing ethos of natural conservation is what sets Palmetto Bluff apart from other planned communities and gives it the feel of a treasured sanctuary.
Ongoing Projects That Sustain and Educate
Today, the independent, not-for-profit Palmetto Bluff Conservancy continues to provide stewardship for the community’s lands through a variety of programs. Under the leadership of Director Jay Walea, whose intimate knowledge of Lowcountry ecology spans more than three decades, the Conservancy’s ongoing projects include:
- Participation in environmental research. The Conservancy stays actively involved in study projects that monitor and promote the health of the Lowcountry ecosystem. These range from biological research projects by PhD-level scientists to citizen-science surveys of local wildlife species—including the populations of alligators, turtles, white-tailed deer, and bluebirds.
- Historical study. In addition to a wide variety of plant and animal species, the Palmetto Bluff property is home to many cherished historical artifacts—some dating back to the land’s earliest inhabitants, around 12,000 years ago. With the help of the community’s dedicated archaeologist, Dr. Mary Socci, the Conservancy has created an archive of information about the area’s history, which is regularly shared in a series of community exhibits.
- Community events and educational workshops. The Conservancy runs a year-round series of hikes, lectures, field trips, and events for Palmetto Bluff residents and visitors. These include lectures on resident wildlife species such as owls, coyotes, and wild turkeys, as well as guided nature excursions that give participants an immersive appreciation of the Lowcountry landscape.
Explore the efforts of the Conservancy and experience the area’s magic. Book a visit to Palmetto Bluff today.