Unopened Dorchester park is getting lots of visitors
SUMMERVILLE — The Ashley River property already looks like it might be one of Dorchester County’s most popular parks — and it’s not even open yet.
County officials are clamping down on security at the 83-acre tract off Bacons Bridge Road after finding the gate and fence vandalized, as well as hunters, anglers, campers and off-road vehicle motorists having used the site.
New fencing and barriers are being installed, remote cameras set up and patrols increased.
Among other problems is trash dumping. A recent walk-through found a discarded television as well as a dead dog in an abandoned manhole with no lid.
The site, purchased in 2012, is a former development tract left in its early clearing stages when foreclosed.
The county plans an array of passive uses, such as trails, a river launch, fishing, shelter and campsite rentals. But officials have not begun to develop it as a park, and public access presents a liability.
The property had been vacant for years before the development and county purchase, and became one of those on-the-sly spots for people wanting to be on the river or off in the woods.
The fishing and camping activities show that people want this park, but it’s just not ready yet, said Councilman Jay Byars.
“I want to encourage the public to make a phone call if they see something (going on) out there,” said Councilman David Chinnis.
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