Source: David Goldman, File/Associated Press

By contributor: Bradley Stanley

In what is considered to be the rarest of opportunities in the history of South Carolina, environmentalist and philanthropist Ted Turner intends to charitably transfer to the State his 4,680-acre St. Phillips Island near Beaufort via a bargain sale.

St. Phillips Island is located north of Hilton Head Island between Charleston, SC and the historic seaport of Savannah, GA.  The island is accessed by a 15-minute boat ride through pristine creeks, marsh and ocean, and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

“Owning St. Phillips Island has given me tremendous pleasure and peace of mind,” said Turner. “It has been a place to spend time with my family and friends observing and interacting with nature and appreciating the raw beauty that still exists today.  It’s my hope that visitors from South Carolina and elsewhere will enjoy the Island’s natural for generations to come.”

If the acquisition is approved by the Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, the island will become part of Hunting Island State Park managed by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. SCPRT will then spend the following months assessing its resources and operational capacities to determine its optimal management structure and revenue potential.

“We are thrilled. It’s not often that such a great opportunity is presented to the state of South Carolina,” said SCPRT Director Duane Parrish. “We are excited about its complement to Hunting Island State Park nearby. And we’re looking forward to adding a unique, exceptional coastal experience to our inventory. This is a tremendous, once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the State Park System to provide public access to an island that has been privately held for many years while also ensuring the continued stewardship of its natural resources.”

The Park Service manages and protects more than 80,000 acres of South Carolina’s natural and cultural resources, which range from deep mountain wilderness and old-growth forests to plantation homes, battlefields, waterfronts and wetlands. The state park system includes 47 operational parks and six historic properties. The system also includes more than 1,500 separate buildings, 155 cabins, 80 motel rooms, 3,000 campsites, two 18-hole golf courses, two saltwater fishing piers, 42 ponds, 156 miles of paved roads and more than 300 miles of hiking and riding trails.

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PRESS RELEASE submitted by Dawn Dawson-House