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#07-56 February 26, 2007

New trail at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve is now open

A new 2.75-mile hiking trail is now open at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve in northern Greenville County.
           
The trail at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve is a one-way hiking footpath that ends at the South Pacolet River. Along the way, it climbs and descends Squirrel Mountain, makes its way over two footbridges and features a bench made out of native hickory. A number of noteworthy plant communities can be found along the trail, and among the more interesting plants are pink lady’s slipper, switchcane and many of the early spring wildflowers like trillium, bloodroot and hepatica. Other features include boulder outcrops, mature chestnut oaks and good winter views of the surrounding mountains.
           
Only hiking is allowed at the Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve trail—no mountain bikes or horses. Camping is also not allowed on the preserve.
           
For more information on Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve, call the Clemson DNR office at (864) 654-6738, extension 15.
           
Trail Dynamics, a trail design and construction company in Cedar Mountain, N.C., built the ChestnutChestnut Ridge trail Ridge trail. Construction cost was $67,383 and was paid from the Heritage Land Trust Fund, which derives its revenue from a portion of the documentary stamp tax from real estate transactions.
           
To get to Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve from Greenville, go north on US 25 to SC 11. Follow SC 11 east, past the Cliffs at Glassy development, and turn left onto Oak Grove Road. Go one mile on Oak Grove Road and look for a parking area on the left. The trail begins at this parking area on Oak Grove Road.
           
The 1,881-acre Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve in northern Greenville County harbors the white irisette, a federally endangered perennial plant. The white irisette, which grows in rich basic or neutral soils, has leaves that appear as forked blades, and its flowers are diminutive and pale white. The land at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve varies from early successional forest to mature upland and cove hardwoods. Numerous rock outcrops jut out of the rugged Chestnut Ridge and Squirrel mountains, which are separated by the upper South Pacolet River.
           
Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve is part of the DNR’s Wildlife Management Area program, and some types of hunting are allowed. The preserve features a 144-acre area open only to archery hunting, called the Glassy Mountain Archery Only Area. The remaining acres of the preserve are in the regular Wildlife Management Area program, and species typically hunted on the preserve include bear, deer, squirrel and wild turkey. Fishing is also allowed on the South Pacolet River.
           
Formed by state law in 1976, the Heritage Trust Program has protected 83,959 acres on 73 state heritage preserves found throughout South Carolina.


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