Boone Hall Plantation Protected Forever
McRae family and local leaders announce conservation easement
For more than 300 years, Boone Hall Plantation has been working farm and forestland, first as a lucrative plantation and later as one of the most popular attractions in Charleston. Today, Lowcountry Land Trust, the McRae family, and state and local leaders announced the permanent protection of Boone Hall Plantation. A conservation easement, which closed on November 5, ensures that the property’s forests and farmland will remain forever, eliminating development pressure in rapidly growing Mt. Pleasant.
“The protection of Boone Hall is truly ‘community’ conservation. It grounds the region with a sense of place and connects people to the land through masterful storytelling and shared experiences,” commented Ashley Demosthenes, president and CEO, Lowcountry Land Trust. “The commitment of the McRae family to chart proactively the future of Boone Hall demonstrates their passion for this special place and for the thousands of guests they host each year.”
Boone Hall’s conservation easement consists of nearly 600 acres, including 370 acres of forestland and a mile and a half of creek frontage. The McRae family’s love story for Lowcountry land began like so many others. Willie McRae’s parents often visited friends in the area, and on one visit they discovered an iconic Southern plantation for sale. Willie McRae’s father purchased the property in 1955 for his wife. The family moved to the property when he was one year old and soon after, his mother opened the property to tourists. “I first fell in love with this place during my childhood,” reflected McRae, owner, Boone Hall Plantation. “It has been hard work. By placing Boone Hall in a conservation easement with Lowcountry Land Trust, I know that the vision my parents had for this special place can live on forever. It will always be a magical, mystical place for children and others who come to visit.”
“Generations of residents and visitors have embraced the story and history of Boone Hall, found peace amongst a bustling urban corridor, picked fruit fresh in the field, and celebrated family occasions,” commented Will Haynie, mayor, Town of Mt. Pleasant. “The McRae family’s long-term vision, Lowcountry Land Trust’s conservation expertise, and the commitment of state and local officials have ensured that residents of Mt. Pleasant, the region, and the state will continue the family traditions that have made this place such a part of our community.”
Under the terms of the conservation easement, the property will be used only for agriculture, education, and tourism.
Charleston County Greenbelt Fund and the South Carolina Conservation Bank provided critical funding, while the McRae family donated 75% of the land value relinquished due to the limited uses allowed under the terms of the conservation easement.
“Boone Hall is surrounded by development on all sides on former plantations such as Snee Farm and Brickyard. When the opportunity to protect this iconic place arose, we were positioned to act quickly,” commented Elliott Summey, chairman, Charleston County Council. “The full support of County Council paired with the funding from the Charleston County Half Cent Sales Tax Greenbelt Fund and state Conservation Bank were critical to the process. The collaboration between County, State and Town of Mount Pleasant officials along with a gracious and generous landowner has been a special process.”
The South Carolina Conservation Bank grants more than $18 million each year to organizations working to save special places in South Carolina. “Boone Hall is certainly one of the most significant conservation projects in South Carolina in the past generation, perhaps ever,” commented Raleigh West, executive director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “Given its history, public use, scenic beauty and the growth pressure in Charleston, it’s in a class of its own. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. McRae and his family. Without his vision for conserving Boone Hall, this outcome would have been impossible.”
The conservation easement closed on November 5 and will remain in effect in perpetuity.
About Lowcountry Land Trust
Founded in 1986, the Lowcountry Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to honor the relationship between people and land by protecting irreplaceable Lowcountry lands and treasured places. Lowcountry Land Trust has protected more than 144,000 acres across seventeen (17) counties in SC. More information about the Lowcountry Land Trust is available at www.lowcountrylandtrust.org.
Media Contact: Jennifer Howard, 843.709.4192, email@example.com