Protecting Land & Water | Advocacy | Balanced Growth

Brad moving files from his home to UF's first office

Celebrating 25 years of Upstate Forever

In the latest issue of the Upstate Advocate, Founder and Senior Advisor Brad Wyche reflects on the difficult decision to leave behind a successful law practice and start an organization to address the immense challenges associated with rapid growth and development in our region:

"I never doubted the urgent need for the organization... But how many people in the Upstate would agree with me? Would I be able to attract enough financial support to hire staff and be successful?"

Two-and-a-half decades later, Upstate Forever has inarguably been successful in achieving Brad's earliest goals of protecting green space, managing land use, improving water quality, and more.

We hope you'll join us in celebrating this momentous milestone. Here are several ways you can learn more about our work and support a greener, brighter future for generations of Upstate residents to come:

Greenville Dev Code moves forward

The City of Greenville Planning Commission has voted unanimously to recommend the draft Development Code to City Council for adoption. The Code's first reading at Greenville City Council is set for tomorrow, Monday, May 22! Sign up for our Greenville land use planning newsletter to receive updates, and click here to read 5 reasons why UF supports the Greenville Development Code.

Protected land in the news

Thank you to Fox Carolina News for showcasing this exciting project taking shape in Pickens County! We are proud to play a role in the future Bryson Children’s Nature Walk, a 63-acre property protected through a conservation easement on which the Town of Six Mile plans to open a public park and outdoor classroom for local students. Learn more now live!

There's a new online home for the future multi-use trail to connect Upstate SC and Western NC: We're proud to have collaborated with coalition partners Conserving Carolina & PAL, as well as Spartanburg-based marketing firm ALINE, on this new site. Explore the website now — and be sure to sign up for email updates from the Saluda Grade Trail coalition!

Join us for Land Trust Day June 3

Each June, Mast General Store hosts Land Trust Day in celebration of the important work of land trusts like Upstate Forever. This year, Mast General is donating 20% of the Greenville store's sales on Saturday, June 3 to UF! You can also stop by our table in the store from 10 am - 4 pm to chat with our team about how land trusts and stewardship work.

More news, information & updates

Welcome new staff

Our Land Conservation team recently welcomed two new members:

  • Land Stewardship Coordinator Ericka Berg works with landowners of conservation easements, responding to reserved rights requests, issues, property transfers, or other questions they may have. She also performs annual monitoring, reporting, and helps with anything stewardship related.
  • Land Protection Coordinator Steely Russell works with willing landowners and conservation partners to protect the Upstate's rivers and streams, natural and scenic areas, farmland, and wildlife habitat.

Thank you, Fireforge! 🍻

Greenville's Fireforge Crafted Beer selected us as their nonprofit beneficiary during Q1 of 2023, offering patrons the opportunity to round up their tab to the next dollar to support UF. That initiative generated a whopping $1,700! We are so grateful to Fireforge and all who rounded up their tabs to support our work!

Clean Water Act lawsuit update

In 2020, on behalf of Upstate Forever, South Carolina Trout Unlimited, and Naturaland Trust, the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP) took legal action against the owners and operators of Arabella Farm, a wedding venue located off Scenic Highway 11 in Pickens County.

Since 2017, hundreds of unlawful discharges of sediment-laden stormwater originating from the property have flowed directly into adjacent streams and downstream into the Eastatoe River, Little Eastatoe Creek and Lake Keowee, clogging and degrading valuable water resources that support the area’s trout population and related recreational activities. Large quantities of sediment emanating from the site have settled onto properties owned by Naturaland Trust and protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by Upstate Forever.

While the legal case has been ongoing and meandering for three years now, we received a positive update this month: On May 15, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Arabella Farm’s petition to reverse a Fourth Circuit Court decision and dismiss our lawsuit.

Safeguarding water quality is at the core of Upstate Forever’s mission. As custodians of the conservation values of the impacted eased property, it is our responsibility to ensure that its natural resources are protected. We will continue fighting to hold Arabella Farm accountable for the damage done to Upstate land and water resources. Read more

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Your tax-deductible gift to Upstate Forever will go directly toward protecting critical lands and saving special places in the Upstate.

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Upstate Forever is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of Upstate South Carolina.  Over the past two decades, we have worked to protect the natural assets that make the Upstate so special — our farmlands, forests, natural areas, rivers, and clean air. We are committed to ensuring that our communities are vibrant and retain their green spaces, outdoor heritage, and unique identities in the face of rapid development and significant sprawl. Our vision is an environmentally healthy, economically prosperous Upstate that offers a high quality of life now and for future generations.

For more information, visit our website at or send us an email.