Land around Angel Oak looks to remain undeveloped

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It is probably the most popular tree here in the Lowcountry, the Angel Oak on Johns Island.

Thanks to the hard work of many the land around it is expected to be protected for future generations, assuming an additional $400,000 can be raised.

This 400-500 year old tree is a popular spot for tourists and locals. It has never been in any danger but for the past five years the land around it has been at risk for development.

"We had the chance to partner with a series of organizations in protecting 17 acres at really the cross section of Johns Island, Bohicket and Maybank Highway as an opportunity to prevent development from happening," said Adrian Cain, Director of Development at Lowcountry Open Land Trust.

And the only thing standing in the way right now is enough money: $3.6 million to make the purchase.

"This is a once in a generation opportunity for us to be part of an acquisition of a property that really protects the fabric of the community," said Cain.

So far Charleston County has provided $2.4 million, leaving a total of $1.2 million.

The city has donated $250,000 and Historic Charleston Foundation has given $50,000 towards the property.

"You don't want a beautiful oak tree in the middle of a sea of asphalt and that would have been what would have happened and so the benefit here is that not only in the Angel Oak itself available to be enjoyed by everybody, but also the context that the Angel Oak exists will be protected, too," said Dana Beach, Executive Director at Coastal Conservation League.

Lowcountry Open Land Trust wants to keep the land as natural as possible but would like to have some nature trails as well as have it available as an educational tool for nearby schools.

The deadline to purchase the 17 acres near Angel Oak is Sept. 30.

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