PATH will return to Beaufort, South Carolina in September to construct another 2.27 miles of the Spanish Moss trail. Using a grant from the James M. Cox Foundation, PATH crews constructed the “model mile” last year to create local interest and support. The effort obviously paid off as local interests have raised over $500,000 to meet the challenge offered by the Cox family for the next phase of the project.
In addition to the 3.27 miles being construted by PATH, Beaufort County has obtained a $1.03 million federal allocation to build a 2.1 mile addition to the trail. The entire trail as envisioned will be around 14 miles long connecting the Whale Branch River to the Town of Port Royal.
The Spanish Moss Trail is being built on the old Magnolia Line, a railroad spur connecting the main CSX line paralleling I-95 to the port at Town of Port Royal. The trains used to carry goods to and from the port as well as soldiers heading for the Parris Island Marine base. The port closed years ago and the railroad was abandoned.
The Beaufort-Jasper Water Sewer Authority controls the corridor and provided an easement for the trail. PATH’s partners include Beaufort City and County, the Town of Port Royal, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail. The partnership is already putting together funding for an additional segment north of Beaufort.