JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry activists are moving forward with efforts to protect a historic tree on Johns Island. It’s a vision that first sprouted back in 2008 when development threatened to cut the angel oak down. The angel oak tree is an estimated four to five hundred years old and preservationists want it to stand tall for hundreds of years to come.
Leaders will discuss several methods of preservation for the 35 acres of land surrounding the angel oak park. Among them include green space and walking trails throughout the property.
“If you can tell the story of the Angel Oak, you can tell the story of Johns Island,” says Samantha Siegel, Angel Oak Project Manager for Lowcountry Land Trust.
South Carolina’s history is rooted deep on Johns Island delicate in nature and growing every single day. The way of life for an Angel Oak, make it more important than ever for activists to make sure it’s protected.
“The woods that we are surrounded by right now could have been condos and retail space,” says Siegel.
The Lowcountry Land Trust purchased 35 acres surrounding the Angel Oak tree in 2008. Since then, they’ve been working to reimagine the property. This summer, a landscape firm will work to transform the park while building better protection for the tree.
“The vision is walking trails, very light on the land with historical and cultural information,” says Siegel.
Nurturing the land and historic tree while enhancing the resources it can provide to visitors. Siegel believes making the space an outdoor classroom for visitors of all ages will lead to additional preservation down the road.
“Enhance the ecosystem for the Angel Oak while also providing some additional green space for Johns Islanders and visitors,” says Siegel.
Officials will hold public meetings Thursday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, June 15th at 6:30 p.m., at the Johns Island Library. Officials will share their plan with residents before an official design for the preservation is brought to life over the coming months.
“This planning process is the result of a lot of community input that we’ve received,” says Siegel.
It’s a vision to strengthen an iconic piece of history with the hopes of protecting it for decades to come.
“And this will end that battle, this land will be conserved after we are gone,” says Siegel.
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Firm will lead the build. Official drawings of the design are expected to be drafted and presented for public comment later this year.