By Damien Triouleyre
Most of the high and ancient Ingram Dunes in the heart of North Myrtle Beach are now safe as a nature preserve.
On May 2, the owners and the city signed an agreement for the city to purchase 77 percent of the Dunes for a preserve (7.2 acres out of 9.4 acres). On June 4, the purchase was completed and then announced to the public on June 6. The Ingram family retains ownership of the remaining 2.2 acres. This part has been divided into seven lots to be sold adjoining the preserve. The team had hoped that the entire Dunes area could be preserved, but they are most greatful that the highest dunes will be safe.
Preserve Ingram Dunes is very thankful and relieved that the highest and most significant dunes, covered with live oaks and other trees, will be saved. These are the highest relic dunes known on the coast of South Carolina. As you know this has been a long, challenging and inspiring journey that began in October 2016. In the beginning the preservation of the dunes seemed impossible… from a rational point of view. However, many have remained true to the vision that the Dunes would remain safe and protected. This has been a labor of love and persistence. Through the beauty and spirit of the Dunes, the Dunes saved themselves. The Dunes have been loved for generations by locals and visitors alike. And now they will be able to be loved by generations to come.
The total 9.4 acres Ingram Dunes was valued at $3.1 million. The 7.2 acres to be preserved is valued at $2.5 million, and $1.1 million was given in cash and the Ingram family donated $1.4 million. (Cash: the city gave $500,000, the S.C. State Conservation Bank gave $500,000 and private citizens gave $100,000.)
In the end, the preservation of the Ingram Dunes, is an inspiring example of what can happen when the different parts of a community work together in cooperation for a greater good. This was a collaboration between many concerned citizens, the owners of the land, conservation groups, our city mayor and council members, city staff, our state representatives and the South Carolina State Conservation Bank.
We are most grateful to the whole Ingram family. They kept this beautiful place safe for 80 years, were honest and reasonable in their negotiations and then generously donated $1.4 million toward the purchase. Mayor Marilyn Hatley and the City Council kept their minds open and have given the support that made this purchase a reality. The South Carolina Environmental Law Project was essential in giving legal representation, guidance and ongoing support.
We must thank each one of you who believed or hoped that the Dunes could be saved. Your support, effort and prayers made this happen… along with a lot of help from the Great Spirit.
The journey now continues as we celebrate this remarkable event and work to keep the Dunes safe in it’s new form as Ingram Dunes Nature Preserve.