Shaws Creek Preserve

2658 Acres

The Shaws Creek Preserve (SCP) consists of approximately 2,658 acres of undeveloped forested land, featuring a 92-acre reservoir. Located approximately 12 miles north of the City of Aiken, South Carolina, it is a haven for diverse plant and animal species in the Sandhills region due to its forests, wetlands, and streams.

The Preserve safeguards the Shaws Creek watershed, which is a source of water for over 20% of Aiken residents. The City is committed to maintaining the Shaws Creek Preserve in its natural state, and ensuring passive public recreation opportunities on the Preserve in the years to come.

Less than a decade ago, much of the property was slated to be developed into a golf and equestrian community with more than 4,000 homes. Such development would have threatened the quality of Aiken’s drinking water, prompting the City to acquire the property in 2020. In 2023, Aiken Land Conservancy was awarded $1.9 million from the South Carolina Conservation Bank to purchase a conservation easement on the property, which legally protects the property from intensive development in perpetuity. The funds used to purchase the conservation easement will, in turn, be utilized to restore the native longleaf pine ecosystem on the property and to create recreational opportunities on the property for the public to enjoy.

The bold step the City took to purchase this land in the first place, coupled with amazing support from partners such as the South Carolina Conservation Bank, The Longleaf Alliance, and International Paper, made an idea first proposed by Dr. Harry Shealy more than 30 years ago a reality,” says Larry Comegys, President of Aiken Land Conservancy. “We look forward to expanding the conservation corridor along Shaws Creek even further in coming years to protect our most critical natural resource: water.”

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