BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — A total of 12,000 acres right near the Jasper County, Hampton County line was purchased and will soon become the next large area of land to be protected by environmentalists — and the hope is it will be the next place that hunters, fishers and nature enthusiasts will be hanging out.

Part of the “Buckfield” property near Pocotaglio Road, The Nature Conservancy and the Open Air Institute are combining to buy more than 7000 acres of this key natural habitat for dozens of species of plants and animals — including Gopher Tortoises who build their nests throughout the area.

The property, dubbed an “ecological treasure” by many, will now be protected from developers — and soon open for the public to enjoy the longleaf pines and beautiful parts of the Coosawhatchie river.

“All the water that flows in here and buffers for crabs and oysters and redfish and all the things that make Port Royal Sound and the Beaufort-Jasper area so special, this property contributes directly to it,” says David Bishop, Coastal and Midlands Conservation Director of The Nature Conservancy.  

“The ground floor for some of these epic conservation projects like the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and Hunting Island,” Patrick Moore, Senior Project Manager of the Open Space Institute says, “this place will be just as well known and just as well loved in a few years.”

The next step is working with the South Carolina department of natural resources to add on the “slater property” next to “Buckfield” to create a full 12,000 acres protected from development.

The goal is to make it into a public area not just for hunting and fishing, but for camping and family enjoyment. 

That could happen as soon as next year.