Brosnan Forest is a regionally important hub of high-value habitat in one of the most rapidly developing areas in South Carolina. Owned and managed by Norfolk Southern Railway Company, it is a 14,400-acre ecological preserve, located near Dorchester, SC, in the lowcountry coastal plain region. On it occurs one of the most important longleaf pine habitat areas in the United States. 12,448 acres of the preserve are protected under a conservation easement and is home to the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers on private land.
Thomas & Hutton has an ongoing collaboration with the Owner to create an overall master plan of the +/-2,000-acre of the core conference facility/cabin guest activity zones. Services include thoroughly reviewing the existing facility’s operations and conference guests’ current/future needs, conducting a multi-day design charrette with the Owner and the entire Brosnan Forest staff, creating an overall master plan with key area enlargements to illustrate ways to be more efficient maintaining the high level of guest experience with a sustainable focus.
At the Forest, the team created a 3.3-mile trail network that meanders through the old growth longleaf ecosystem. The active trail system traverses through key portions of the property to allow the cabin guests access to additional areas for outdoor recreation and embrace the ecological experience. The trail is a multiple modal network allowing the trail user to cycle, ride a golf cart, take a leisure stroll, or utilize cardio exercise loops. Along the trails, there are areas of special interest to educate the visitor of the Forest’s ecological importance and continued sustainable practices. Some key areas of interest are the Bird Dog Cemetery, 50 acres of lake systems, interpretive signage for the Red Cockaded Woodpeckers, native plant material, and exercise areas with mileage markers.
As a continued effort to allow for the conference guests to engage the outdoors, the team developed a 130-seat amphitheater and bandshell/elevated stage with NS Lawmen Band to perform. The amphitheater design was a continuation of the Brosnan Forest master plan and was identified as part of the Phase I implementation to enhance the guests’ outdoor experience. The project consisted of conceptual development, detailed hardscape and landscape construction documents, and concept development of the band shell enclosure/stage. The proposed band shell was designed with close coordination with in-house structural and civil engineering to achieve desired building finishes.
Thomas & Hutton offers wide variety of services from site analysis, master planning, concept development, detailed hardscape plans, landscape plans, landscape architecture, civil and structural engineering, construction administration, and construction observation.