Spartanburg, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT) and the Palmetto Trail hosted a ribbon cutting event for a new bridge over Fairforest Creek in Croft State Park on Tuesday, August 30.
The new bridge restores access to the park land that the creek divides, reconnecting roughly 20 miles of hiking and biking trails in the Southside Trail system to the rest of the park, and completing the portion of the Palmetto Trail that runs through Croft.
“Many hearts and hands went into making this project possible, and it’s exciting to cut the ribbon on what will be a huge asset to this park,” said SCPRT Director, Duane Parrish. “The new bridge will be enjoyed by countless mountain bikers and hikers, as they spend the day in Croft or just pass through as they hike along the Palmetto Trail. We are very grateful to the donors and volunteers who brought this project to life, restoring a critical piece of infrastructure in one of South Carolina’s largest state parks.”
“This is an exceptional example of partnership,” said Mary Roe, Executive Director of the Palmetto Trail. “We are pleased to again have access to Southside Trail System. The Palmetto Trail system within Croft State Park is a destination trail for hikers and bikers and the new Fairforest Bridge gives further access to the amazing cultural and natural resources within the park.”
The bridge replaces what was once one of the most iconic landmarks in the park – the beautiful Advance America fiberglass footbridge – which opened in 2008 and was destroyed by historic weather events in 2020. The loss of the bridge cut off access to trails, disrupted travel on the Palmetto Trail, and significantly decreased options for Croft State Park users.
The new bridge stands four feet higher than the original and was constructed thanks to the time, energy, and talent of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (which builds and maintains the Palmetto Trail), AmeriCorps, and the South Carolina State Parks team. It was funded through the generous support of three donors – Wayne and Lora Siegler and Jann Howell – and committed individuals in the Croft State Parks Friends Group, who spearheaded an online donation drive to raise dollars to complete the project. The new bridge is also wide enough to support utility and all-terrain vehicles, making it easier for park staff to maintain trails and for local emergency response teams to assist injured or lost hikers and mountain bikers.
Located just a few miles from downtown Spartanburg, Croft State Park once served as a World War II Army training camp. Today, the park is a favorite for mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians, offering visitors more than 7,000 acres to explore. With 50 campsites and mile after mile of trails, Croft State Park is full of rich history and fun activities for the whole family.
Pictured above left to right: Duane Parrish (Director, SCPRT), Jann Howell, Adin Fell (Mountain Region Chief, South Carolina State Parks), Laura Salzhauer (Off-Park Ranger, Croft State Park), and Mary Roe (Executive Director, Palmetto Trail).