MeadWestvaco reveals plans for Edisto River land

MeadWestvaco wants to preserve part of a scenic 70,000-acre forest it owns along the Edisto River near Charleston but has plans to develop other parts of the land.

The forest products company made the announcement Wednesday as part of its long-term management strategy for its Lowcountry property. MeadWestvaco said it plans to involve the public in a plan for the 70,000 acres. Public meetings will begin in June.

"We want to be part of the growth solution," MeadWestvaco chief executive John A. Luke Jr. said in a press release. "MeadWestvaco has operated in the Lowcountry for many years, and we care about its future."

The company has almost 400,000 acres in South Carolina. It was less specific about its plans for the rest of that land — more than 320,000 acres — in the Lowcountry, between Georgetown and the Georgia line. The company said it plans to keep most of the land forested, but will sell some of it over time.

The 70,000 acres is on the eastern side of the Edisto River in Dorchester and Charleston counties. Nearby towns include Holwood and Ravenel.

Like other forest products corporations, MeadWestvaco is selling some land it no longer needs. Many people have expressed concern about land sales because it could change the face of the high-growth Lowcountry.