South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

March 5th, 2007


Author: Jimmy Chandler and Amy Armstrong
Section: LOCAL

The Sun News' Jan. 25 article about the Heritage Shores Nature Park properly highlighted the fact that a small slice of nature has been preserved in the Cherry Grove area of North Myrtle Beach. The city of North Myrtle Beach deserves thanks for the series of boardwalks and trails, two picnic shelters and educational kiosks, as well as boat access to the creeks around Cherry Grove, that the park provides.

But a couple of important facts that were not in the story should be noted. The park would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a small number of Cherry Grove residents and property owners. The city had a chance to purchase all of the high ground at Heritage Shores about 10 years ago for less than $500,000 but declined. It was only after the city declined his offer that the property owner worked out a plan to move forward with development of the entire Heritage Shores area.

Thankfully, the residents and property owners, led by Carlysle Brandon, Brice Leonard, John Wiggins, C.M. Elliott and Russell Burgess, and with the help of dozens more, challenged the development permits that would have allowed the total degradation of this area. After winning the permit appeal with the help of the S.C. Environmental Law Project, a nonprofit public-interest law firm based in Georgetown, these citizens worked out the settlement that required the developer to give this park to the city.

The settlement spelled out the use of this land for a park and gave the city the right to build the boardwalks and gazebos. The settlement also preserved public access through the developed portions of Heritage Shores.

Next time you're boating, crabbing, fishing and enjoying one of the last remaining natural areas in Cherry Grove, say a thanks to the Cherry Grove residents and property owners who made this park possible.

The writers, of Pawleys Island, are with the S.C. Environmental Law Project.

Copyright (c) 2007 The Sun News