President’s Letter

As the old cartoon so humorously conveys, Aiken has always been a haven for its visitors and residents. However, that haven is now under accelerating development pressure. Our beautiful community, high quality of life, strategic location and growing migration to South Carolina are the reasons. With its core mission to protect Aiken’s quality of life, responding to this development pressure is at the heart of the purpose of the Aiken Land Conservancy. Our more than thirty years of conservation experience and active leadership to protect our watersheds, historic properties, forests, and farms, make us a key player within the community to achieve that mission.

To help protect Aiken’s lands and water resources from the pressures that come with accelerating development we need every tool in the land conservation toolbox. Our number one tool is conservation easements, held and enforced by ALC. A conservation easement is a legal way for private landowners, as well as public/private partnerships, to restrict future development on their land. And we’ve been successful in this area, holding conservation easements on nearly 40 properties. To build on our success and be effective in the face of accelerating development, we are taking these steps.

First, as the only organization solely dedicated to protecting Aiken’s lands, historic properties, and water resources, we must significantly increase our outreach to landowners and the government officials who determine land use policy. A key step in increasing our outreach is to add a fulltime executive director to our team, a search that is underway. This will be an important addition to our exceptional and dedicated board and administrative staff.

Second, by holding a conservation easement ALC is making a binding commitment to monitor and enforce the terms of that easement, in perpetuity, on every property. That obligation is a significant financial commitment, necessitating dedicated funds to assure ALC always has the resources to cover the costs of ongoing monitoring, costs that continue to grow as easements are added. The planned sale of the Rose Trace property, a gift to ALC that was made with our future needs in mind, will generate funds to help strengthen our ability to monitor for the future. We appreciate both the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Rosen, who donated the property, and their continuing and enthusiastic support for our work.

Third, we have an important leadership role in demonstrating to the community, landowners, and government that land conservation is key to a vibrant Aiken. Land conservation isn’t about stopping growth and change. It is about balancing them with our core mission to protect Aiken’s quality of life. That is our leadership role, leveraging our 30-plus years of conservation experience, to actively, and aggressively, advocate for protecting our community.

Thank you for your support of ALC and our mission to protect Aiken’s quality of life. It’s a pleasure to be back as president to work with you on that mission.

Larry Comegys President, Board of Trustees

Larry Comegys
President, Board of Trustees