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County, partners to open new Rocky Point boat landing, kayak launch

Nov. 16, 5 p.m.

After a delay caused by Hurricane Florence and related flooding, Georgetown County Parks and Recreation is ready and excited to open the newly completed boat landing and kayak launch at Rocky Point Community Forest.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. This event will give members of the public their first look at these new amenities on the property. After the event, the gates to the property will officially be open, providing access to the landing and forest – something area residents have been looking forward to for quite some time.

Though owned privately, the property was made available to the public for nearly 70 years before changing hands in 2007. The new owner cut off that access and recreational opportunities provided through the property were sorely missed by the community. Thankfully, just under three years ago, a unique partnership allowed the land to be reclaimed for public use.

The Winyah Rivers Foundation purchased the 462-acre property through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Open Space Institute and Georgetown County, which will manage recreational amenities on the property.

Opening of the new boat landing and kayak launch are the first steps in transforming Rocky point in to South Carolina’s first public-use community forest.

“This is a very small part of a much larger project,” County Administrator Sel Hemingway explained back in May when the county broke ground on the new boat landing and kayak launch.

Future plans for the property include the eventual addition of hiking, biking and equine trails, as well as camping grounds.

“We’re thrilled to be resurrecting such a valued community asset and grateful to The Nature Conservancy, Georgetown County and Open Space Institute for welcoming us into this landmark partnership,” said Emma Boyer of Winyah Rivers Foundation. “This gives us the opportunity to take a new approach in pursuing our mission in the Winyah Bay watershed. We’re looking forward to a new generation of fond memories made on the river at Rocky Point.”

Beth Goodale, director of Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, said she is delighted at the cooperation from so many different groups that has made reopening this property for the public a possibility.

“It really just makes me happy to see it. I think it really speaks to the importance of this property to the surrounding community, the county and beyond. This piece of land has immense value and potential for our area. It’s really a gem and something all these groups and our community as a whole should be proud of.”

The new canoe and kayak launch was supported through a grant to the Open Space Institute through the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund which is made possible with funding from the Duke Energy Foundation. The Duke Energy Foundation is investing $10 million to fund programs benefiting waterways in the Carolinas or immediately downstream of operational facilities in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. The fund supports science-based, research supported projects and programs that provide direct benefits in water quality, fish and wildlife habitats, public use and access to waterways and public awareness about individuals’ roles in protecting water resources.

The $50,000 kayak launch is located adjacent to the new $150,000 boat landing, which was funded by the county. The new launch ramp has convenient access and a courtesy dock. While the parking area was improved for trailering, launch and traffic, it remains in a natural state with no paving, which is in keeping with the vision for the property.

Additional parties who had a role in opening this property back for the public include:

Grantors for the Acquisition of Rocky Point 

  • South Carolina Conservation Bank
  • US Fish and Wildlife (North American Wetland Conservation Act)
  • Duke Water Resources Fund
  • Carolina Bird Club
  • France P. Bunnelle Foundation
  • Butler Conservation Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy

Grantors for the infrastructure on Rocky Point 

  • SCDNR Water Rec Funding
  • Duke Water Resource Fund
  • Judith Haskell Brewer Fund through the Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Northern Virginia

Project Partners

  • Winyah Rivers Foundation
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Georgetown County
  • Open Space Institute
  • Rocky Point Community Forest Steering Committee
  • Choppee Community
  • SC Forestry Commission
  • SC Department of Natural Resources
  • Sabine and Waters (Forestry Consultants)

Wings of Freedom tour coming to Georgetown Airport Oct. 29-31

Oct. 16, 4:15 p.m.

From Oct. 29-31, the Georgetown County Airport will house a unique display of vintage aircraft, including the World War II Vintage Boeing B-17, “Flying Fortress.”

The display is part of the national “Wings of Freedom” tour, which — in honor of Word War II veterans — is in the process of bringing extremely rare bomber and fighter aircraft to more than 100 cities across the U.S. this year.

A project of the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit educational group devoted to organizing living history events, the Wings of Freedom Tour will also feature the B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” and P-51 Mustang "Toulouse Nuts" fighter.

These exciting aircraft will arrive at the at the Georgetown Airport, 129 Airport Rd., at noon Oct. 29 and will be on display until the aircraft departs after operations on Oct. 31. Hours of ground tours and display are noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 30, and 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31.

Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 for up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. Discounted rates are available for school groups.

“This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history,” said Jim Taylor, airport manager.

The B-17 is one of only 9 in flying condition. The B-24 is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the World. The P-51 Mustang was awarded the prestigious Grand Champion for restoration. Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. P-51 flight training is $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924. Flight experiences are scheduled before and after ground tour times listed above.

The Collings Foundation’s living history events are designed to allow people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation.

The Wings of Freedom Tour is celebrating its 29th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually.

The tour travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who originally flew these aircraft, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect, and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve. Since the tour’s start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24 and P-51 display at locations across the country.

The B-17 and B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters, and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” – saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters.

After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. The rarity of the B-17, B-24 and P-51 — and their importance to telling the story of WWII — is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide.

At each location, local veterans and their families are encouraged to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public.

For more information, visit www.collingsfoundation.org.

 

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