The Beautiful Places Alliance was created to build on the generous support that businesses, foundations and private individuals have provided in recent years. Because of these donations, we have been able to renovate historic buildings, build a new recreation area and provide interactive learning exhibits. These are some of our recent success stories:
Known for its natural beauty and the towering mountain which gives the park its name, Table Rock State Park has an extensive system of trails that lead hikers by streams, waterfalls and stunning views as they make their way to the top of Table Rock Mountain. However, not all visitors have the time or the physical ability to complete the 7.2-mile round-trip hike to the top.
We wanted to make the hike accessible to people who physically can’t make the trek themselves and share with them the incredible sights and sounds of the trail, and the stunning views from the top. Using the latest in virtual technology, we created the Table Rock Virtual Reality Experience, a fully immersive experience of the Table Rock Trail. This virtual experience can be enjoyed at the park with the 360-degree capability of Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headsets or by viewing the video on our YouTube page with your phone or computer. The video shows movement and progression along the trail to create a real-feel hiking experience anyone can enjoy.
Funding for the Table Rock Virtual Reality Experience was secured through donations from BMW and the family and friends of Tom Presnell, an avid hiker and state park supporter who recently passed away unexpectedly.
Once a rural retreat, Paris Mountain State Park is now a treasured green space in the fast-growing Greenville area. Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, the historic bathhouse was renovated with the help of more than $500,000 in financial and in-kind support. Special care was taken to retain the building’s historical integrity while converting it into an educational center that includes exhibits recounting the park’s beginnings as the mountaintop source of water for a growing city.
The Drummond Center at Lake Greenwood State Park was built with more than $450,000 in financial support. The center features one of the few museums dedicated solely to the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built this and other parks across the state and nation before World War II brought their work to an abrupt halt. The Drummond Center also has become a popular meeting venue for the Greenwood community.
Located just off the Ashley River, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site preserves and interprets the founding settlement of South Carolina. A $100,000 donation was key to the creation of a classroom inside the new Visitors Center. Every year, thousands of schoolchildren use the classroom before they take a tour of the park’s interactive museum, history trail, archaeological digs and natural habitat zoo.
Other recent accomplishments include a new dog park at Sesquicentennial State Park near Columbia, interpretive signage at Landsford Canal State Park on the scenic Catawba River and renovation work to the historic trout pond at Jones Gap State Park on the Blue Ridge Escarpment.