Nearly 4,000 acres of Francis Marion National Forest land to be preserved to mitigate Boeing expansion

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Nearly 4,000 acres of property adjacent to the Francis Marion National Forest are being gifted to the public under a wetlands mitigation plan approved for Boeing's continued expansion in North Charleston.

The land consists of three separate tracts. About 1,670 acres will be given to the state Department of Natural Resources and 2,225 acres will be transferred to the U.S Forest Service within five years. Until then, conservation groups will own, manage and restore the property that's home to several rare, threatened and endangered species.

Boeing gave the groups $12 million to buy the land earlier this year.

Mark Robertson with The Nature Conservancy calls it a huge gift to the people of the state and country.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the mitigation plan last month.