Nearly 500 Conway acres being set aside for conservation

Almost 500 acres of wetlands and forest near downtown Conway soon will be marked for conservation.

The land falls on both sides of the Main Street bridge and sits across the Waccamaw River from the city’s Riverwalk.

The Nature Conservancy, an international organization dedicated to protecting key lands and waters, is purchasing a 308-acre tract and the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is acquiring another 184-acre property, said Maria Whitehead, a project director with the conservancy.

Whitehead asked Conway leaders this week if the city would hold the title on the larger tract. She said her group would simply sign over ownership without any charge to the city. The conservancy typically purchases property and finds other entities to be stewards of the land. The group hopes the refuge will eventually take over both tracts, but its boundaries don’t yet extend that far. City council members agreed to her request.