Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund
The Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc. is a private, non-profit corporation which
partners with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for the promotion of
education, research, management and the administration of game and fish laws, which
will benefit conservation of wildlife, marine and other natural resources in South Carolina.
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    A unique partnership of public and private groups is helping to change the face of Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point.
The Sassafras Mountain Improvement Project officially got underway Monday, Sept. 17 on top of the 3,553-foot mountain in northern Pickens County, highlighted by remarks from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Another highlight came when The Conservation Fund announced at the ceremony that it will donate 4.8 acres at the top of Sassafras, on the North Carolina side, to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
    "One of the challenges of any generation is to preserve and protect the God-given beauty of our state," said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. "Today we are taking an important step forward in preserving for future generations this wonderful area of South Carolina. Not only are we preserving the Sassafras Mountain area for the future, we are also making it more accessible. It is important we continue to push for thoughtful conservation, combined with economic growth, to ensure the natural beauty and wonders of our state are protected for decades to come."
Hampton Fund A Partner In Sassafras Mountain Improvement Project . . . Help Build The Tower! Donate Today!
    A unique opportunity exists for you to take your place in South Carolina's history! SCDNR, Pickens County, other partners and the Hampton Wildlife Fund  are working together to generate private donations to construct and manage a unique observation tower on top of South Carolina’s highest mountain peak, Sassafras Mountain. Once built, visitors will be able to see more than 50 miles in all  directions.
    Brick pavers will be placed at the base of the observation tower. Pavers of different sizes may be designated in honor or memory of a child, friend, or loved one. This is an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for special recognition on the highest point in South Carolina. Donations go directly to the Hampton Wildlife Fund, a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-exempt. Act NOW to take advantage of this opportunity to “make your mark” atop Sassafras Mountain.
    The Harry Hampton Fund will receive the funds for the project. Brick pavers donations are accepted by clicking the link below. All online credit card transactions are secure.

Brick Paver Choices:

  • $100- 4 x 8 brick; 3 lines with 23 characters per line (including spaces)

  • $500- 8 x 8 brick; up to 6 lines with 23 characters per line (including spaces)

  • $1000- 16 X 16 brick; up to 6 lines with 23 characters per line (including spaces) Brick pavers will be permanently set in the foundation around the observation tower.
    "We are pleased that South Carolina's highest point will now and forever be accessible to the public and are honored to be a part of this effort," said R. Michael Leonard, vice chairman of the Board of Directors for The Conservation Fund. "The Fund intends to convey the remainder of the adjacent property—the first phase of the 8,000-acre East Fork Headwaters property—to the North Carolina Forest Service later this year, preserving the awe-inspiring viewshed surrounding Sassafras Mountain and creating additional recreational opportunities nearby."
    Eventually the project will include an observation tower to give visitors a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and even Tennessee. Other amenities will feature new trails, including a barrier-free section, and other public-use facilities such as restrooms.
     Partners in the Sassafras Mountain effort include the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Pickens County, Clemson University, The Conservation Fund, The Highpointers Club, Duke Energy, the Foothills Trail Conference, and the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund. Daniel Harding, an associate professor of architecture at Clemson University with extensive experience in designing structures in natural areas, has completed a conceptual plan for Sassafras Mountain. The partners will work to find private donors to help fund the project. All donations will be tax deductible and will help create a crown jewel on top of the highest point in South Carolina.
    To donate to this project, contact Tom Swayngham, DNR regional wildlife coordinator, at (864) 654-1671, Extension 21 or at SwaynghamT@dnr.sc.gov. "We are truly grateful to The Conservation Fund for their generous donation to the citizens of South Carolina and to all of our partners who are working to develop Sassafras Mountain into a premier destination point for the state," said Alvin Taylor, DNR director.
    Sassafras Mountain, which sits on the border of South Carolina and North Carolina, has for years been a neglected landmark in northern Pickens County. Since the 77-mile Foothills Trail (www.foothillstrail.org) passes over Sassafras on its way between Table Rock and Oconee state parks, about the only regular visitors to the landmark were hikers and backpackers. However, when DNR erected a viewing platform on the western side of the parking lot in 2010, interest and visitation increased significantly and the idea of a more extensive observation platform on top of the mountain began to take hold.
    Pickens County has made major contributions to the Sassafras project, including grading and repaving the road that leads to the top of the mountain, cleanup of the area around the mountain and funding. Pickens County has been an enthusiastic partner, recognizing the importance of Sassafras Mountain as a tourist destination.
  "It is important that we celebrate the assets that make Pickens County unique," said Jennifer Willis, Pickens County Council chairman. "Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, is a treasure here in our backyard. The completion of the lookout will enhance the site and improve the views and accessibility of this treasure for residents and visitors."
To make a general  contribution to the project, click the button below:
    The Highpointers Club, a group that promotes the highest points in all 50 states, has lobbied for years for improvements atop Sassafras Mountain.
"We at the Highpointers Club are excited about the plans on Sassafras Mountain that will promote and preserve the beauty of South Carolina’s tallest mountain," said Sid Collins, CEO of the Pickens County YMCA and Highpointers Club member. "This project will create better access while maintaining the integrity and wonder of Sassafras. The Highpointers Club supports this effort and will help in any way possible."
    The Harry Hampton Fund will receive the funds for the project, which present a unique opportunity for those interested in the project to contribute by purchasing a brick paver that will be placed on the mountain with the donor’s name engraved. Brick paver donations are currently being accepted by sending a check made payable to Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund (see instructions at right).