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Vic's View

Vic's View: The De-Greening of South Carolina

“Wildfire smoke plagued the Northeast skies (recently), and it’s becoming clear that the climate emergency is here."


I hate to see trees being cut down. I know they are a cash-crop and are renewable. I know it is hypocracy to complain about this on paper made from trees. I know we need habitat more than animals do.

Still, it saddens me.

That’s why it was encouraging to hear Andy Howard, the county’s director of parks, recreation and tourism, say that if the county acquires 330 acres of timbered property near Joanna, for equestrian trails, he would propose harvesting, not clear-cutting. That makes sense, why would you de-tree land for riding trails whose main attraction is being “through the woods”?

As a side-note, it appears South Carolina is getting wise to its horse industry - I’ve seen recent article about equestrian parks in Florence and Horry Counties, our neighbors to the far east of SC.

Maybe a “network” of equestrian parks, playing host to trail rides on subsequent weekends? Horse-riding enthusiasts spending their vacation riding our state’s trails (staying on our hotels, patronizing our businesses, interesting thought).

In Laurens County, it dovetails nicely with the Agriculture and Business Center that was ground-broken Saturday in Laurens. And, don’t forget the Lander University equestrian center at The Burton Center.

Just - people, really, please -- KEEP the trees.

Least you think it’s just tree-huggers like me who would have noticed the de-nuding of South Carolina, here is some imperical evidence:

“Wildfire smoke plagued the Northeast skies (recently), and it’s becoming clear that the climate emergency is here — states must prioritize climate protection policies. To uncover how much progress is happening nationally, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team released our second annual report on the greenest states in the U.S. in 2023.

“We analyzed five metrics and found that South Carolina ranks #22 in the nation for eco-friendliness in 2023. Last year, it ranked #12.”

So, to recap, the 12th GREENEST STATE in the Nation, now is about middle of the pack. THAT is a lot of wood, in one year. And you can see it everywhere - I-26 going into Charleston around Jedburg, once a lush forest, now concrete as far as the eye can see. 

Clearly, we need somebody to step up and have a Massive Tree-Planting in South Carolina. I can’t imagine whom that would be. Our Clinton Planning Commission is doing its part, recently passing a more stringent tree-replacement ordinance. Communities through the state have tree ordinances, I’m sure. But when that money come talking, the wood goes walking. 

It’s just business. 

 Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. In June, 2025, he will observe his 50th year in community journalism. Reach him at 864-833-1900.