The Dorchester County Parks and Recreation Master Plan was originally published in 2009. Since January of 2015, work has been ongoing to update the master plan based on current factors and public feedback. The goal of this process is to provide a clear path to developing a robust countywide park and recreation system. The 2016 Update was provided for County Council's consideration on 4/4/2016.
2016 Capital Bond Referendum
On 11/8/16, Dorchester County voters approved 61% to 39% the Parks and Libraries Capital Bond Referendum. This means that $13M in park bond proceeds may be utilized to develop and open Ashley River Park, Pine Trace Natural Area, Courthouse Park, and various trail projects to the public. Currently, pending litigation challenging the validity of the referendum is preventing construction from starting on park projects. The plaintiffs have appealed an earlier decision that completely dismissed the case to the SC State Supreme Court.
Ashley River Park
Design development, construction drawings and permitting are well underway for Ashley River Park. This project is anticipated to be ready to go out for construction bids, pending availability of 2016 Bond funding, late summer 2018. The unique 85 acre riverfront property will offer something for all ages and abilities with major features including trails, fishing pond, event spaces, playground, dog park, ropes course, picnic areas and kayak launch. Construction is projected to be ready commence in late Summer 2018 with a 12 month construction period. Visit the Ashley River Park page for more detailed project information.
The Courthouse Park project is the most advanced major park project. Park design and permitting have been completed. The bid process for construction will begin once the pending litigation is resolved and the capital bonds are issued. This true multiuse park will be a draw for the entire region featuring the following components: youth baseball fields, soccer/football field, basketball courts, paved walking trail, pond, great lawn, custom designed playground, adult fitness area, event pavilion, and splash fountain. Naming rights and partnership opportunities are currently available through our partners at Friends of Dorchester County Parks. Visit the Courthouse Park page for more detailed project information.
Pine Trace Natural Area
A conceptual master plan for Pine Trace has been completed and issuance of the wetland permit for the site is pending. This 300+ acre natural area will provide a forested oasis featuring trails, a pond, disc golf course, picnic shelter, outdoor classroom, dog runs, and will be the northern anchor for the Eagle Chandler Bridge Creek Trail.
Ashley River Blue Trail
The Ashley River Blue Trail Howard Bridgman Access at Bacon's Bridge opened to the public on December 2nd, 2017. The new access site, located at the front of Ashley River Park, provides public access to a unique stretch of river suitable for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. As future plans for additional upstream access come to fruition, adventurers will be able to utilize a series of regular public launching points for trips of varying lengths from the headwaters of the Ashley River all the way to Charleston Harbor! Maps of the Ashley River Blue Trail are available by contacting Eric Davis. Visit the Ashley River Access page for additional information on the blue trail.