EDITORS NOTE: This story originally mentioned it was a South Carolina Department of Transportation project. However, SCDOT’s Director of Communications tells News 2 the project is being managed by Berkeley County.
According to Pete Poore, Berkeley County made the decision to cut down the tree with two options available. “The county chose to pick the option that would remove the tree,” he said.
DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – For the last few days, from dusk to dawn, Sammy Sanders has been sitting in a tree on Clements Ferry Road. The massive live oak is set to be chopped down; and Sanders is trying to save it.
Sanders estimates the tree is around 250-300 years old. He says it served as a gathering spot for the community and was called “The Meeting Tree.”
The tree is located on his family’s property in Cainhoy. He still remembers his father specifically buying the lot with the tree many years ago.
“My dad bought the lot next to me, and when he found out that the tree wasn’t on the lot, he went back and bought the second lot so that he could protect the tree,” he recalls.
Berkeley County is planning to cut down the tree for their Clements Ferry road expansion. Sanders says this is a piece of history he cannot bear to part from.
In fact, this isn’t even the first time he’s fought to keep it from being chopped.
“This is the 3rd time I’ve saved the tree. SCDOT was going to cut it down 10 years ago and I fought them and won I guess.”
As he sits in the tree all day; cars have been stopping to ask questions or honking to show their support. He says “I holler down and tell them what’s going on.”
He’s also started up a Facebook page “Save The Tree” with a few hundred followers at the moment.
It’s a fight he’s not willing to give up easily. Sanders is hoping to gain the support of local leaders by making a statement from 75 feet in the air.
“It’s not me, it’s the other people that get involved that are going to save the tree. I can’t save it by myself. I need any and everyone to help that can.”
There is no word yet on when construction might begin for the expansion project.