Lake Conestee Nature Park

It might as well be a world away. But just a short distance from downtown Greenville, spread across nearly 400 acres, the Lake Conestee Nature Park awaits exploration. It’s a place where traffic sounds give way to bird chirps and rustling leaves. Placid turtles dot the streams. Boardwalks and trails beckon with views of the lake. Amazing for land and water once damaged by pollution.

Before it was turned into the tranquil preserve you see today, the site had to be prepared. It was also necessary to acquire surrounding properties to preserve the delicate wetlands, keep sediments in place, repair the Lake Conestee dam, and monitor water quality. One of the parcels the Conestee Foundation wanted to buy was Forrester Farm, a 41-acre tract along Mauldin Road.

A $500,000 grant from the Community Foundation made that purchase possible. Jeff Beacham, executive director of the Conestee Foundation called it a keystone achievement. “The grant provided the matching

financial support critical [for us] to receive a $1.2 million grant from the SC Conservation Bank to complete the purchase,” he said.

Development has begun to turn the Forrester Farm property into the main gateway to the park. Ben Keys, a board member of the Conestee Foundation, noted, “We will also complete a beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Reedy this fall to connect trails on Forrester with trails on the west side of the river. Also, there will be connections between the park and a new baseball tournament complex.”

Beacham added, “The grant from the Community Foundation was an important vote of confidence in the plan to manage pollution issues and provide a foundation for redevelopment and revitalization of the Conestee community.”