A Brief Land Trust History
In 1992 Lindsay Pettus had a vision of a way to protect significant natural and cultural areas in Lancaster County where he was born and raised. Gathering friends and fellow conservationists Paul Gettys, Mark Grier, Jimmy White IV and Ralph Garris, the Katawba Valley Land Trust was founded in March of 1992. This group of friends became the first board of directors with Lindsay Pettus as President.
The seeds of this new land trust were rooted in the work of the Catawba River Task Force in the early 1990s, on which Lindsay served along with Murray White of Fort Mill. This group published the Catawba River Corridor Plan which recommended protecting buffers along the river and its tributaries. Lindsay and Murray became co-chairs of the Implementation Committee for the river management plan which was a key motivation in the creation of both KVLT and the Nation Ford Land Trust (NFLT), founded by Murray White. KVLT’s original service area focused on Lancaster and Chester counties, while the NFLT focused on York County.
The first property protected by KVLT was a 1.1 acre tract on the Catawba River across from Landsford Canal State Park. This property, acquired in 1995, contained a mobile home visible from the state park. Lindsay felt this property was extremely important to restore this significant historical viewshed at Landsford. The property was acquired, the mobile home removed and the viewshed was restored.
Since this small but significant beginning, and working as an all-volunteer group for most of its 25-year history, the land trust has protected over 10,300 acres in five South Carolina counties. Areas of emphasis for KVLT’s conservation efforts have included buffers along the Catawba River and its tributaries, the Landsford Canal and Forty Acre Rock areas, the Great Falls area and the Lancaster Greenway Preserve.
KVLT has also promoted environmental education efforts throughout its history by publishing books such as Spider Lilies: The Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies of Landsford Canal State Park, publishing prints and photographs, conducting an annual speaker series and leading numerous hikes and bird counts.