Lake Wallace Authority seeking grant to improve walking trail
The Lake Paul Wallace Authority is seeking $75,000 in grant funding to refurbish and improve the walking trail around the lake.
The funds are derived from a portion of the federal gas tax that is paid on recreational vehicles. Grants awarded through the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism’s State Trails Program.
Doug Jennings, chairman of the Lake Authority, appeared before Bennettsville City Council Tuesday night to outline the Authority’s plan for the money if it is awarded.
Most people are aware of the walking trail across the diversion dam between the fishing and boating sides of the lake. It is well lit and somewhat maintained, and citizens use it often.
But what many may not know is that the walking trail extends beyond the diversion dam, completely encircling the fishing side of the lake. From the parking lot on Country Club Drive, the trail goes across the diversion dam to Beauty Spot Road, where it turns right, then cuts right again and follows the bank of the lake past the old Boy Scout camp and game warden hut, the entrance to Jack’s Island and the school building. The full loop measures 3.2 miles.
According to Jennings, years of neglect have left that outer portion “essentially unpassable” with overgrowth and fallen trees. The $75,000 SCPRT grant would allow the Authority to clear, grade and improve the trail, making it “something we can all be proud of,” Jennings said.
It would also allow improvements to the part of the trail that crosses the diversion dam, including better benches and exercise stations along the trail.
The deadline for the grant application is March 2, and the Authority is hopeful and optimistic that it will be successful. The grant requires a 20 percent local match that is flexible in nature; it could be met through volunteer citizen man hours or other means, Jennings said.
He asked for the council to provide a letter of support to accompany the grant application, and it was unanimously approved.
Beyond the trail improvements that the grant would fund, Jennings told the council that future plans for the lake include improving the bank with grills, picnic stations, and possibly camping and RV sites near the old Boy Scout camp, along the line of Cheraw State Park’s Lake Juniper, which is utilized year-round.