Protecting the health and sustainability of the magnificent Francis Marion Forest is everyone’s responsibility in the face of rampant development along its perimeters, as The Post and Courier articulated in its editorial on Sept. 7.

The U.S. Forest Service has developed a plan that not only seeks to promote and grow a healthy forest with a commitment to restoring native longleaf pine wherever possible, but it is also rightly sensitive and responsive to the unique interactions between humans and the ecosystems.

The Forest Service is aware of the many unincorporated, rural communities located around and even within the Francis Marion Forest itself that are important partners in this effort. These uniquely positioned community members are passionate about their forest home. They have an intimate and historic knowledge of their environment and a personal perspective on the impact already caused by encroaching development.

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation applauds the Forest Service for working with our staff to reach out and engage these critical communities in the planning process for the future health of this forest. From these communities emerge natural, intuitive stewards who are committed to what is best for this public trust of land and their private home.

Jennie Stephens, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation

Sam Rittenberg Boulevard

Charleston