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Our Story

Conestee Nature Preserve
is Greenville’s hometown nature destination.

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Our Story

We are a 640-acre nonprofit owned and operated Wildlife Sanctuary located just five miles south of Downtown. We offer an accessible oasis of natural beauty and unique opportunities for learning and exploration, all within the city limits.

Through vision, hard work, and the support of many, Conestee Nature Preserve emerged from what was once considered a polluted and unwanted property. Over 20+ years, our small nonprofit organization has purchased, restored, expanded and improved the Preserve’s acreage, ultimately establishing CNP as one of the Upstate’s best places to enjoy nature. Today, the Preserve includes over 13 miles of trails and boardwalks and 11 wildlife observation decks. Come “discover a world apart!"

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What makes Conestee Nature Preserve Special?

Resiliency

Conestee Nature Preserve is a comeback story. In the not too distant past, the idea that the Conestee property could be a community asset would have been unimaginable.  

 

In the late 1800s, the current Conestee Dam was built on the Reedy River in order to provide power to Conestee Mill. For many decades, the Reedy carried industrial and municipal pollution downstream to Conestee. Much of this pollution settled out behind the dam, as waters slowed there. By 1920 it had grown intolerable to the Conestee community. The water had a terrible odor and all the fish had died. The town of Conestee sued the City of Greenville, eventually winning the lawsuit, but by then the Great Depression had impacted industry and the mill never fully recovered. 

 

Much of that legacy contamination still rests, buried and capped beneath the scenic woods and waters within the Preserve. As long as the sediment containing these contaminants are undisturbed, they cause no harm. A Nature Preserve is the perfect use of this land, as soils remain intact, waterways are protected, and wildlife and habitat thrive and flourish where pollution once threatened natural systems.

Photo: Mac Stone

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Mission

Through responsible stewardship of our unique ecological resource, we provide inclusive opportunities for meaningful connection, discovery, and education in nature.

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Vision

At Conestee Nature Preserve, we are a cornerstone destination for visitors of all backgrounds to engage with the natural world right in the Upstate of Greenville, South Carolina.

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Values

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Wonder

We instill our visitors with an admiration and awe for the natural world that creates positive change beyond the boundaries of the Preserve.

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