Lake Conestee Nature Park currently consists of approximately 400 acres of land including and surrounding Lake Conestee. The park will eventually be composed of 600+ acres, and will act as the “southern hub” of the developing Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Forrester Farm parcel
The Master Plan Committee identified the Forrester Farm property along Mauldin Road as a primary site for an environmental education center and main entrance to Lake Conestee Nature Park. Located on the east bay of Lake Conestee, this property still possesses much of the ecological character of its historical use as a traditional family farm. The hillside area is a mature hardwood forest and provides the only scenic overlook of the East Bay of Lake Conestee. A very important asset of this property is its location; it provides convenient public access points for the park on Mauldin and Conestee Lake Roads. Situated beside the old Greenville Municipal Stadium, this property is in the heart of urban Greenville County in one of the fastest growing areas of the state. This entryway would include a lakeside trail on the Forrester property and a bridge over the Reedy River that would connect with the current SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism-funded trails already developed on the Lake Conestee and Henderson properties. Ultimately, this entrance would connect to the developing Swamp Rabbit Greenway Trail.
Henderson Farm parcel
The Foundation acquired the 112-acre Henderson Farm parcel in 2001. The parcel was secured by a note through Carolina First Bank, guaranteed by four private supporters of the Foundation. In 2005, the Foundation was successful in obtaining a grant from the SC Conservation Bank for $675,000 toward payoff of the Henderson Property note, along with matching funds of $205,000 from several local private foundations and an approved Greenville County/SC Department of Transportation matching grant for $362,000. This level of funding, along with past interest payments made by the Foundation, allowed the Foundation to pay the Henderson Property note in 2006.
Five acres of this parcel were sold to the Belmont Fire District for the construction of their new building on Fork Shoals Road.
Lake bed parcel
The Conestee Foundation acquired the 145-acre Lake Conestee parcel in 2000. At the same time, the Foundation acquired an adjacent 5-acre parcel providing access to the historic Lake Conestee dam. These parcels were acquired fee simple using a grant from the State of South Carolina’s Colonial Pipeline Mitigation Trust Fund. This grant was administered by the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The agreement with SCDNR stipulates that once the environmental status of the lake is addressed, the property be made available to the public for use as public greenspace, wildlife habitat, and environmental education. The Foundation has satisfied this obligation to the Mitigation Trust Fund through a conservation easement held by Upstate Forever, and has constructed a trail system on this property with funds provided by SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The trail system opened to the public in October 2006.
River North (81 acres) parcel
The Conestee Foundation has recently entered into an agreement with the City of Greenville to add this upstream property to our current holdings. This property consists of mature bottomland and upland hardwood forests along the western shore of the Reedy River directly below the Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority property and across the river from the capped Municipal Landfill. A $99,800 grant from the SC Conservation Bank will allow us to purchase 11.828 acres of this property from the City, after which the City will donate the remaining approximately 69 acres of land to be part of Lake Conestee Nature Park. The Master Plan Committee has identified this property for the Swamp Rabbit Greenway Trail and a trail spur leading to a trailhead at the adjoining residential development. Additionally, we plan to develop a trail system throughout the property that will allow visitors to LCNP to experience this scenic forest.