South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is a grassroots-led heritage tourism initiative that brings together communities throughout a fourteen-county region from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Oconee County to the Atlantic Ocean along Charleston and Colleton Counties. Receiving congressional designation in 1996 as a “national heritage area” and funded in part through the National Park Service, the Heritage Corridor is more than a regional tourism promotion effort. Using heritage tourism principals, communities build on an existing amenity base through packaging their natural, cultural, and historic resources. Through regional cooperation, communities collectively reap the economic benefit of increased tourism, which serves as a catalyst for business growth while providing greater awareness and incentive to conserve, preserve, and protect heritage resources. In addition to Discovery Centers that help interpret and guide visitors to designated sites within each of the four regions of the Heritage Corridor, two parallel automotive routes run its length and tie together related attractions. The Discovery Route links many significant historic sites and settlements, including mill villages, courthouse towns, battlefields, and military sites. The Nature Route begins with the waterfalls and mountains of Table Rock and the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and winds along the western part of the state, including Lakes Russell and Thurmond, and the Savannah and Edisto Rivers, down to the ACE Basin and the coastal plain. The project is managed by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism under an agreement with a nonprofit board of directors.