PEAK/POMARIA — On a recent Sunday afternoon, members of the Greater Chapin Community Endowment (GCCE) had the opportunity to hike along the Peak-to-Prosperity Passage which is a 6.5 mile rail bed section of the Palmetto Trail that opened in 2009.
Earlier this year GCCE provided grant funding that allowed the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF) to erect two permanent trail side benches, install historic interpretive signage, and assist with hosting the Art on the Trail program. The Peak-to-Prosperity Passage connects the historic settlements of Alston, Peak, Pomaria and eventually, Prosperity.
Fontaine McNamara, Chair of the GCCE Grant Committee said, “The project of rail-to-trail conversion offers a great opportunity to develop awareness of our local history, ecology, and environment while promoting outdoor recreation.”
The Peak-to-Prosperity Passage rail trail begins on the banks of the Broad River at Alston in Fairfield County and continues west into Newberry County, through Piedmont forest, into the towns of Peak and Pomaria, and over 14 wooden trestles that cross Crims Creek. The Palmetto Trail is two-thirds complete with nearly 315 miles open to the public. When the trail is complete there will be 425 miles of hiking and bicycling paths beside lakes, across mountain ridges, through forests, and into towns big and small. The trail will be South Carolina’s largest bicycle and pedestrian project and will run from the mountains to the sea.
Palmetto Conservation Foundation’s Executive Director Natalie Cappuccio Britt, Office Manager Suzette Anderson and Volunteer Guide Furman Miller provided the GCCE members and their families with plenty of information and anecdotes.
From its inception in the mid-1800’s of the former Greenville and Columbia Railroad to its destruction by Sherman’s troops in the Civil War, to its current status as the 6.5 mile Peak-to-Prosperity Passage of the statewide Palmetto Trail, the rail bed has played a constant role in the social and economic development of communities in the Greater Chapin area.
As the group walked across the trestle over the Broad River, Furman Miller pointed out the original railroad trestles lying in the water and explained that Sherman had ordered destruction of the bridge during the Civil War.
While on the trail, GCCE members saw the new trail side benches and read the new interpretive sign about Hope Station that is erected near where the Hope Station Depot once stood.
“It was interesting to learn about the thriving little town of Hope Station and how it vanished over time,” said Lillian Hayes.
John Facchinei, committee member, was pleased to see the new trail side benches and noted how clean and well-maintained the trail appeared. For more information about the Palmetto Trail, please visit www.palmettoconservation.org.
Founded in 2003, the GCCE exists to provide resources for a broad range of existing and future charitable needs via a grant competition held in annually in the spring. Organizations in the Greater Chapin area – Ballentine, Little Mountain, Peak, Prosperity and White Rock – are eligible to compete for grants. The endowment is in the process of raising funds to supplement its current fund. Only the earnings from the Endowment are available for grants. The Greater Chapin Community Endowment is an affiliate fund of Central Carolina Community Foundation which manages and invests the Endowment fund and assists the Greater Chapin Community Endowment in the grant process. For additional information about Greater Chapin Community Endowment, visit chapin.yourfoundation.org.