Guest Editorial: Many Partners Contribute to New Local Recreational Resource

The Palmetto Trail, South Carolina’s mountains-to-the-sea hiking and mountain biking trail, is free and open to the public at all times.  One access point to the Trail is the Alston Trailhead, located in Fairfield County.  With major support from Fairfield County government, Fairfield Forward, EatSmartMoveMore, REI, and Kids in Parks the Trailhead will soon boast primitive campsites, a canoe/kayak launch, picnic areas, and a Kids Track station, geared toward inspiring children to learn about nature as they enjoy that all-important outdoor exercise.  Of course, the Alston Trailhead also provides access to fabulous recreational opportunities on the Palmetto Trail.  One of the best parts of the Trail is right next to the Alston Trailhead—the former railroad trestle crossing the Broad River provides picturesque views up and downstream. 

Palmetto Pride, a statewide anti-litter organization, is a new partner in this effort.  Palmetto Pride has provided funding for kiosks explaining the “pack it in/pack it out” approach to keeping public resources like the Palmetto Trail clean.  The idea is to instill a sense of responsibility for all you bring to the Trail—and to maintain that responsibility until everything you took to the Trail (or trail head) has been brought back and disposed of properly.  Palmetto Pride funding has also provided tools and equipment for volunteer litter clean up efforts taking place all over the Trail.  Many organizations—most recently the National Guard Reserve–joined the Palmetto Trail in a major litter clean up on the Peak to Pomaria portion of the Trail, which is served by the Alston Trailhead.   We appreciate their efforts—and those of the many, many volunteer groups across the state who help to keep the Trail clean.

Of course, we wish our volunteers could spend more time maintaining the Trail and less time cleaning it up.  Education is the key and we value the role Palmetto Pride has played in helping us educate our Trail users and all the citizens of the state.     

Mary Roe is the executive director of the Palmetto Trail.