As a father of three and Assistant Scoutmaster to Chapin’s Troop 411 of the Boy Scouts of America, Furman Miller is no stranger to the outdoors. Trekking though various parts of South Carolina with his boys, he has visited areas of our State many people never get to see. After following the expansion of the Palmetto Trail, Furman decided to take action and contacted Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) to see how his Troop could get involved and help give others a chance to experience nature in the Palmetto State.
PCF is a statewide organization dedicated to conserving South Carolina’s natural and cultural resources, preserving historic landmarks, and promoting outdoor recreation through trails and greenways, including the Palmetto Trail. Founded in 1989, the organization helps communities throughout our state grow and prosper while maintaining local character and quality of life. PCF familiarizes visitors and residents with the natural adventures the Palmetto State has to offer by hosting educational programs and activities that encourage people to explore nature and learn new outdoor skills.
Through PCF, Furman’s Troop adopted an 11.5-mile section of the Palmetto Trail known as the Peak to Prosperity Passage. The boys worked hard to open the passage, converting leftover train trestles and using tractors and chainsaws to clear the pathway. The Troop now maintains it by mowing, removing low-hanging branches, mulching rocky areas, and replacing worn decking on trestles. “We love the outdoors anyway and this is an opportunity to get out and give back to the community,” Furman said. “We provide a resource for people to use, and get so much positive feedback from those who walk the Trail.”
In addition to the upkeep of their adopted passage, the Troop dedicates time to improving other sections of the Palmetto Trail. Currently, the Troop is helping to open new passages as part of a statewide effort to expand the Trail continuously across South Carolina. The boys have cleared areas for primitive campsites, installed bat boxes, constructed stairways and overlooks, created parking areas, and more. They have also helped highlight associated history along the Trail by marking sites of significance, as many sections predate the Civil War.
“The Palmetto Trail is a great concept and a wonderful resource,” Furman said. “It allows residents and visitors alike to explore our State and see all of its different environments from coast to mountains. By making the Trail accessible and offering programs for people to learn new things, PCF exposes the natural beauty of South Carolina.”
Furman feels PCF has not only opened up opportunities for his Troop to get more involved, but also offers others a chance to experience all that nature has to offer. “PCF gives a lot to the community by organizing different events that get people outside to enjoy nature while improving their health,” Furman said. “What they do is valuable for people’s mental state and their physical well being.”
Furman and his Troop look forward to continuing to work with PCF to improve and expand the Palmetto Trail. “I am really proud of my State and this is a great way to showcase parts of it,” he said. “I’m eager to see the day we’re able to make it continuous from mountains to sea with no gaps.”
For more information about PCF, visit www.palmettoconservation.org.