New DI organization seeking to preserve and protect the community’s ‘jewels’
On the western side of Daniel Island, along the Cooper River, nature runs wild.
There are areas teeming with trees, undisturbed wetlands where fiddler crabs and birds spend their days, and sandy paths offering splendid vistas of the lush landscape and river.
Daniel Island resident Ken Scarlett calls this place off the beaten path, away from neighboring development and the hustle and bustle of every day island life, the community’s “jewels” – and he wants to see them preserved.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” noted Scarlett. “We want that river walk area for residents in a passive state…Almost like Huckleberry Finn with a fishing pole.”
Scarlett, a native of New York, is heading up the newly created Daniel Island Natural Resource Association (DINRA), which he describes as a “grassroots organization” that represents taxpaying residents in actively preserving and enhancing the natural resources of the island. The idea to create the group came about as a result of conversations Ken and his wife would have in their social circles on Daniel Island. Preservation, and a lack of water access on the island, became a common theme, he said.
“It always seemed to be a conversation that would arise,” added Scarlett, who is also an avid history buff. “…The whole idea of taxation without representation was sort of burned in me.”
According to a press release from DINRA, the organization is the first of its kind on the island and hopes to advance the legacy put forth by the island’s former landowner, the late Harry Frank Guggenheim, a philanthropist, investor and businessman.
“Our family is from New York,” said Scarlett. “We grew up with the Guggenheims. They were the good guys…Guggenheim was kind of like the folk hero of New York…He preserved a lot of areas.”
The DINRA held its first organizational meeting two months ago and already has created a list of short-term goals, as well as a vision for the future. Their initial focus is on preserving the western coastline of the island. They’d also like to see residents gain immediate access to this area for walking, jogging, biking, and outdoor family activities; and to have the west-end sandy trail zoned as “natural space” and designated as a flood buffer to protect from hurricane events and rising tides.
Their long-term goals are to develop and champion a master plan for the “phased development of natural resources on the southern and western areas of the island,” and to establish “a seat at the table” in discussions with current south and west side property owners. Much of the area in question is owned by the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
“The DINRA 2025 vision also includes opening up unobstructed views of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and convergence of the Cooper and Wando Rivers,” according to the group’s vision statement. “Each phase will be named after a major champion with overall completion targeted for 2025.”
The group already has a couple of meetings lined up with elected representatives and local officials to learn more about the property.
“We’re eager to get the firsthand scoop,” added Scarlett. “That gives us a good starting point.”
“Transparency is extremely important,” he continued. “…And no one is speaking for the trees right now. The tent is open for residents, taxpayers, who want to go direct and have their island interests represented. And job one is the west end, before it’s gone. There is too much murkiness and cloudiness right now that doesn’t feel right…We need to figure out what’s what and make sure going forth that we’re included.”
To learn more about DINRA, visit www.dinra.org.