The last deal done under Charleston County’s rural greenbelt program promises to be its biggest yet: $11.9 million for the 6,000-acre Fairlawn tract, the last large chunk of privately held land inside the Francis Marion National Forest.

The proposal is as complicated as the former plantation is huge, and there’s no guarantee five County Council members will approve it on Aug. 16.

But the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited application would protect a vast swath of wetlands and forests along U.S. Highway 17 north, one that, if developed instead, would worsen East Cooper’s traffic woes and make controlled burns in the Francis Marion a headache, if not a nonstarter.

Local conservationist Hugh Lane, chair of the county’s Greenbelt Bank Board, said Fairlawn “has been under the microscope of the conservation community for a long time.”

“It is, in my opinion, a legacy conservation for South Carolina,” he added.

Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.