Forest management activities recently initiated at Laurel Hill County Park require temporary closure of the park’s trails. Located near Highways 41 and 17 in Mount Pleasant, Laurel Hill County Park is leased by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) for passive use by Charleston County residents and visitors.
Forest management activities are being conducted in accordance with the terms of CCPRC’s lease agreement with Wells Fargo, the designated trustee of the former landowner, Mr. John D. Muller. Per Muller’s wishes, “It is my will and desire that my trustee shall cause said Laurel Hill Plantation to be maintained in a natural state insofar as possible, while giving to my trustee the right to remove timber there from time to time.”
Land management professionals have identified that the park is in need of forest management – specifically, “thinning.” Thinning is the process of using heavy machinery to cut and remove trees to reduce the volume of wood to healthier and safer levels, benefiting both people and wildlife. This is not a “clear cut.” Trees removed will be mostly loblolly pine, but removal of some hardwood trees is unavoidable. CCPRC has been assured that the contractor will be sensitive to the public and historic nature of the property.
CCPRC determined that it is in the best interest of the public to close all trails within Laurel Hill County Park during the timber harvest, which began on June 24. It is uncertain how long the thinning will take; however, CCPRC and the contractor will attempt to open some or all trails for weekend use. Trail users should be on the lookout for signs, caution tape, and/or barricades used to mark closed trails. The public is asked to respect trail closures, avoid and stay off heavy equipment, and note that cameras are in use at the park.
Logging trucks may be seen entering and exiting the property from Highway 41. No specific end date has been determined, however, as the planned work is weather-dependent. In consultation with CCPRC, land management professionals have directed loggers to:
- Avoid removing or damaging live oaks.
- Avoid sensitive cultural and ecological areas.
- Leave ‘no-cut’ buffers in certain areas, including along the historic Oak allee.
- Clear all pine trees within 25 feet of living pecan trees (a portion of the property was historically a pecan orchard), enabling them to thrive.
During Laurel Hill County Park’s closure, CCPRC encourages area residents and guests to visit the trails of Palmetto Islands County Park, located off Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant. Palmetto Islands County Park is a 943-acre park featuring several miles of paved and unpaved trails for walking, biking and skating, in a tropical setting among marsh islands. For updates on the reopening of the Laurel Hill County Park, subscribe to receive alerts at https://ccprc.com/AlertCenter.
Questions about the planned timber thinning should be directed to CCPRC Senior Planner Matt Moldenhauer at email@example.com or 843-762-2172. For more information on Laurel Hill County Park, visit CharlestonCountyParks.com or call 843-795-4386.