We Have A Coast-South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast

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These days, South Carolina’s famous beaches aren’t the only water attraction in the state. The Savannah River and other lakes form what is now commonly being called South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast. And, the Old 96 District is smack in the middle of this coastline. Back in the 1990’s a group of tourism folks were trying to figure out how to give the western part of South Carolina a clear identity. A look at the state map showed the group that the western outline of the state had much water. Plus, many miles of coastline. Hence, the new identity was born!  Lake Richard B. Russell, has 26,650 acres of water and 540 miles of shoreline. The filling of this lake began in October 1983, and was completed in December 1984 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The area flooded by the lake covered several areas of archaeological significance. Sites include Millwood Plantation, Fort Independence and a Native American village and mound. Since Lake Russell was constructed after 1974, the Corps of Engineers prohibits exclusive private use of the lake’s shoreline. As a result, the shoreline of the lake is almost completely undeveloped with the exception of state parks and day-use areas. The Corps owns a 300 foot buffer zone all the way around the 540 miles of shoreline to mitigate the loss of habitat due to the creation of the lake. The natural shoreline creates a strikingly different feel and look to the lake. The largemouth bass, bream, crappie, catfish, trout and bluegill call this lake home. Another lake on the SC Freshwater Coast is Lake Greenwood. With its 11,400 acres of water and 212 miles of shoreline, this lake offers great recreational and fishing opportunities. Lake Greenwood was created by the construction of the Buzzard’s Roost Dam near Chappells, South Carolina, between 1935 and 1940.  The grandfather of the Old 96 District lakes is Lake J. Strom Thurmond. Lake Thurmond, with 71,000 acres of water and a shoreline of 1,200 miles (more than the coast of California) is the second-largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi River, behind the Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River. The lake was also built by the Corps of Engineers in 1954 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project. Lake Thurmond is one of the 10 most visited Corps lakes in the United States.

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