How SPACE Works

Formed in 1989, SPACE is the second-oldest local land trust operating in the state of South Carolina. Approximately 85% of our support comes from the local community, and every dollar contributed to SPACE goes back into our mission to: promote, protect, and preserve natural resources and open spaces in our community. We are a non-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Trustees. Our small, professional staff works closely with local landowners to identify and protect significant lands. We use various conservation tools to protect land, including tax-saving conservation easements, donations, and bargain sales. Each piece of property is unique, and so is each protection strategy utilized by the land owner and SPACE. We are a member of the Land Trust Alliance and have adopted the Land Trust Standards and Practices, which provide the guidelines for ethical performance of land trusts.

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What is a Land Trust or Land Conservancy?

Land trusts are local, state, or regional nonprofit organizations directly involved in protecting land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or productive value. Land trusts may also be called “conservancies”, “foundations”, or any other names descriptive of their purpose.

Some land trusts purchase or accept conservation easements (also known as conservation agreements) that restrict the future use of the land. Some land trusts purchase or accept donations of land and own the property fee-simple. Some land trusts manage these lands for public open space and provide nature preserves and trails.

Land trusts have the potential for bringing together a wide range of people in a community, such as farmers, hunters, landowners, elected officials, government staffers, naturalists, developers, community leaders, and others interested in preserving the unique aspects of their community.

Advantages of Land Trusts

As private organizations, land trusts can be more flexible and creative and can generally act more quickly than governmental agencies, since they are not as restrained by politics and procedures. They are able to negotiate with landowners discreetly, confidentially, and quickly.

Their nonprofit status brings them a variety of tax benefits. Donations to land trusts may qualify donors of land, conservation easements, or money for income, estate, or gift tax savings.

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Conservation Tools

SPACE utilizes several methods for preserving natural areas.

Conservation easements

Conservation easements are one of the most important tools for conserving private land. Landowners continue to enjoy ownership of their land while preserving its natural characteristics for future generations. Conservation easements are negotiable documents that match owners’ property-use needs with long term benefits to their community.

Donation of Land

Outright donations of land are truly a fine legacy. It may be the best strategy if you do not wish to pass the land on to heirs; own property you no longer use; have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens; or would like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land.

Bargain Sales

A bargain sale occurs when a landowner agrees to sell land for an amount less than the full fair market value as determined by an appraiser. The difference between the fair market value and the contract price is deemed to be a charitable donation and tax deductible when the purchaser is a charitable entity, such as a land trust.

Remainder Interest Trust or Reserved Life Estate

Through a remainder interest trust or life estate, the landowner can place an easement on their land and restrict it today, as well as make a commitment that at the end of a specified time period or upon the landowners’ death the entire property will be owned by the land trust or other remainder beneficiary. As with bargain sales and donations of easements, significant tax benefits may be realized by the landowner through these transactions.

Bequest, Living Trust, or Charitable Trust

These estate planning devices can all be used to ensure that SPACE receives a valuable interest either during life or at the death of a landowner. These “valuable interests” may include full title to land, partial interests in land, stocks, or cash.

Building Community

Building Community

We envision a Spartanburg community with natural resources and open spaces that are shared and enjoyed by people and wildlife today and for generations to come.

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Conserving Land

Conserving Land

We work with private landowners and partner agencies to conserve land through voluntary conservation easements and currently protect over 5,000 acres in our community.

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Providing Access

Providing Access

We work to provide access to green spaces for both people and wildlife. Our protected properties include watershed protection, wetlands, farms, forests, geological formations, and natural habitats.

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Why conserve land?

Why conserve land?

Our natural places and working lands are part of our character as a community. Through thoughtful conservation, we can keep Spartanburg wild while continuing to grow and thrive. Learn more about how SPACE works.

Take a hike, Spartanburg!

Take a hike, Spartanburg!

Cottonwood Trail

The Edwin M. Griffin Preserve (home of the beloved Cottonwood Trail) covers 110-acres around a 1.5 mile stretch of Lawson’s Fork Creek and several feeder streams. The Preserve is home to over 5 miles of natural surface trails and it's newest addition, Wildflower Way, approx. 1 mile of newly-constructed ADA-accessible paved trail courtesy of our pals at PAL: Play. Advocate. Live Well.

Glendale Shoals Preserve

Spend a relaxing day at the Glendale Shoals Preserve and explore approximately 1.5 miles of nature trail located at the old Glendale Mill on Lawson’s Fork Creek.

Upper Chinquapin Greenway

Located on the headwaters of the Chinquapin Creek across from the Milliken Research Center with trail access off of Graham Rd., this lush 107-acre greenway hosts a 2-mile natural surface trail as well as a variety of ferns and other plants, like the federally-endangered dwarf-flowered heart leaf! 

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