Protect land from development in a 12-county area of central South Carolina

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mary Crokett

The Congaree Land Trust (CLT) is pleased to announce that Mary Crockett, CLT Land Protection Director, was recently awarded the 2014 “River Manager of the Year” by the River Management Society (RMS) at a workshop in Denver, Colorado earlier this spring.

The River Management Society presents this prestigious award to individuals who have provided leadership in promoting and protecting natural, cultural and recreational resources in addition to working effectively and cooperatively with others to establish key partnerships to protect and manage river corridors. Mary has been a member of the River Management Society for the past 14 years and currently serves as the southeast chapter president. Mary has been instrumental in protecting lands adjacent to South Carolina rivers, conserving natural wetlands, and educating future generations about the importance of protecting our waterways. “My love of the outdoors and being on the water has always played a key role in my career,” commented Crockett. “Our river systems are such a precious resource– I find the work of protecting our river corridors very rewarding. My hope is that future development enables our river systems to endure as great places for wildlife recreation and scenic enjoyment!” Mary has instructed children and adults in watercraft safety at multiple events across the state and conducted numerous presentations about South Carolina rivers and river issues.

Among Mary’s many accomplishments, she has published eight baseline documentation reports which outline the conservation values of private lands prior to placing a conservation easement on them. She has secured multiple grants ensuring 25,000 acres of land will be protected in perpetuity through conservation easements. She has also helped to protect river corridors with National Recreation Trail Status and/or Blue Trail and state scenic designation. Mary regularly trains staff and volunteers to effectively serve as land monitors for conservation easements.

Most recently, Mary has worked to develop partnerships with private landowners and others to protect property that will provide public access to 12 boat-in campsites along the Wateree River. Mary was nominated for the award by her peers. Co-worker, Kitty Weiland shared, “Mary’s passion for the river is at the forefront of her work for the Congaree Land Trust. She is always working to develop unique paddling excursions for CLT members and her enthusiasm is contagious when she highlights the miles of riverfront that our conservation easements help to protect each year.”

Mary has played an active role in the River Management Society over the years and she has been described as a “mover and shaker” by her fellow RMS peers. Mary has orchestrated float trips, published RMS Journal articles, organized workshops and worked to promote river management. Mary provides a strong voice for the Southeast chapter as well as the national organization. Mary received her B.S. in Forest Management from Clemson University and is a nationally certified public manager. She is a well-known naturalist, ranger, land manager and conservation planner with over 30 years of experience. Mary has served in her position as Land Protection Director for the Congaree Land Trust since 2012. The Congaree Land Trust is in its third decade of conserving South Carolina’s scenic lands and now protects 53,664 acres.

The work of CLT helps preserve the visual landscape, keeps the water systems cleaner by ensuring the conservation of vegetative buffers around Central South Carolina river systems, making it possible for future generations to enjoy the same recreational and agricultural opportunities that we enjoy today. Founded in 1992, CLT works with private landowners and conservation partners to protect land from development in a twelve-county area of central South Carolina that includes Bamberg, Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties. Studies show that farming, forestry, outdoor recreation and tourism tied to our natural resources contribute about $54 billion to the state’s economy and provide 463,000 jobs. Conservation easements help protect the natural areas that fuel our state’s natural resource based economy and define our way of life.

For more information on conservation easements and how you can support the Congaree Land Trust, please visit their website www.congareelt.org.

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