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History of Lynches River County Park

As a State Park...

A 676-acre parcel was acquired by the State of South Carolina in April 1972 from Charles Ingram and W.E. Bynum for $110,400. This became known as Lynches River State Park.
The original park amenities included:

  • Community building

  • Public restrooms

  • Picnic areas

  • Maintenance building

  • one mile loop trail

  • Ranger residences

  • Primitive camping 

In the late 1980s, talks began between Florence County Council and Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) regarding Florence County obtaining the park. Florence County Council felt it had more resources to dedicate to the park since it was a regional park; however, it was not until December 1999 that a 50-year lease agreement was established. Then, in February 2003, the PRT officially deeded the property to Florence County.

After becoming Lynches River County Park, many improvements were made:

  • Community Building Renovations – In the summer of 2000, the community building was renovated allowing up to three groups to use the building simultaneously; rental time frames and prices were also restructured.

  • Canoe Launch – A handicap-accessible canoe launch was installed.

  • Riverwalk – The Florence Soil and Water Conservation District (FSWCD) obtained grant funds and approached LRCP about utilizing those funds at the park. Two ideas were put forward: an interpretive center or a riverwalk. It was determined that an interpretive center was not feasible at the time and they proceeded with the riverwalk. A 1400 linear foot riverwalk was constructed by county employees and Santee Co-op.

  • Splash Pad – An Olympic size swimming pool opened in the summer of 1982; however the pool was difficult to maintain and only operated for about 50 days of the year. Our Recreation Commission recommended to replace the aging pool with a Splash Pad, which is a water playground with zero water entry.  The Splash Pad was opened in 2007.

  • Outdoor Education Stations – There are five outdoor education stations located along one of the trails, also thanks to FSWCD.

  • Trail Expansions – The trail system was expanded from one mile of trail (portions of which were closed after Hurricane Hugo in 1989) to about three miles.

  • Upgraded overnight facilities – Overnight facilities were upgraded by adding electrical and water hook-ups to two campsites; a bath house was built, and fire pits were installed throughout the campground; two cabins were added.

  • General Improvements – Renovated signage, paved entrance road, replaced mobile home residence with new construction.
     

The Environmental Discovery Center

In 2004, plans were made to move forward with an interpretive center and a committee was formed to design and build the Environmental Discovery Center (EDC). The committee was made up of unpaid, private citizens who knew that creating a facility that would provide educational opportunities for residents and visitors of Florence County, concerning our natural resources, was an important project. Environmental Discovery Center committee:

  • Sterling Sadler, Chairperson                                                                                  

  • Allen Wood, AIA

  • John Frank

During the planning stages, the committee members visited other interpretive centers around the state of South Carolina, as well as centers in Canada and Scotland. During one of their visits, the committee was introduced to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and understood that this was a way for the building itself to also represent the conservation ideal. A Sumter architect firm designed the building to look like the tobacco barns that were of cultural significance throughout the Pee Dee Region. Construction began in February of 2007 and was completed in November of 2007 at a cost of an estimated $1.2M. The major contributors for the building were Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation, State of South Carolina Land and Water Conservation Fund, Senator Hugh Leatherman, USDA Rural Development, Florence Soil and Water Conservation District and Florence County. The EDC officially opened in February of 2008 and has welcomed more than 270,000 visitors since that date.

  • Jimmy Poston

  • Henry Swink

  • Dr. John G. Rae, III

Lynches River County Park (LRCP) Now & in the Future

Since the initial upgrades made by Florence County, the park has continued to grow. Visitors can find information about current park amenities and activities in the tabs above. The projects below will soon join LRCP history:

  • Campground - LRCP currently has 11 campsites with three having water and electric hook-ups. A new campground, with twenty three sites, is currently under construction and will feature all hook-ups and all pull-through sites. Once this new campground is complete, construction will start to make the current campground equine-friendly, allowing visitors to camp with their horses.

  • Trails - About five miles of equestrian-friendly trails are being added.

  • Equestrian Arena - Recently built and awaiting an opening date.

  • Splash Pad – An new Splash Pad is under construction; we plan to re-open by Memorial Day 2024.

  • Disc Golf Courses - LRCP is adding two disc golf courses: a nine-hole course designed for beginners and quick games, and a more challenging, championship level, 18-hole course.

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