Dates are set for the annual Open House at Parks Mill Rocky Shoals Spiderlily Preserve during peak season again. We will be hosting guided visits on Saturday, May 20 and Saturday May 27 this year.
In July of 2016, the South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS), Naturaland Trust (NT), and Upper Savannah Land Trust (USLT) collaborated to protect a creek full of rocky shoals spiderlilies and a historic gristmill on 13 acres of land and creek-bed on Stevens Creek near Plum Branch, SC. The Site is owned by NT, the Site and resources are managed by the SCNPS, and USLT holds the conservation easement that legally protects the Site from future development.
This site boasts a wonderful population of the rare native Rocky Shoals Spiderlily (Hymenocallis coronaria), as well as a reasonably well preserved, (restoration in-progress) late 19th-century water-powered grist mill structure.
Since 2016, we have been hosting public open house events during the expected peak Lily flowering period. At these events the public is invited to come see the beautiful lily population in the Creek, as well as the gristmill complex. Guides will be available to tour the site and field questions.
This year the dates will be Saturday, May 20, and Saturday, May 27. On both dates the site will be open from 10:00 till 12:00 and again from 1:00 till 3:00 pm. The blooming is pretty uniform, so opting for either the morning or afternoon on either Saturday shouldn’t make a difference in the quality of the show. We do ask that you select a morning or afternoon visit time so we can anticipate potential crowding problems.
2023 Parks Mill/Stevens Creek Open HouseReservation form
There is a sizeable front porch on the Mill building with seating in case of rain. The site has good tree cover, so temperatures should be reasonably comfortable. Just remember that this is a site set aside to protect and preserve a magnificent native wildflower community and a wonderfully historic grist mill. Tread lightly, stay on trails and “pack-it-in-pack-it-out.” Wading in the Creek is prohibited for the sake of personal safety, and for the protection of the Lilies. There is a trail from the Mill house to the Creekside to get good lily photo opportunities. However due to frequent high-water flows in the area adjacent to the Creek, exposed rocks and roots can make the footing very treacherous, so children and seniors must be extremely careful. (There is a project in the works to get a trail installed that will offer Creek views with much safer footing — stay tuned!)
We also strongly suggest that everyone wear long pants cuffed inside sturdy socks to ward off ticks.
To find the site, look for SC Highway 283 just east of Plum Branch in McCormick County. The site is on Stevens Creek, just downstream from the SC 283 Bridge over the Creek. The site entrance is directly across Hwy 283 from William Self Road and will be clearly highlighted by signage. Parking is along William Self Road. If anyone in your party is mobility-challenged, you may drive to the site, drop them off, and return to find parking along William Self Road.
All visitors will be required to sign a waiver form that holds The South Carolina Native Plant Society, Naturaland Trust, and Upper Savannah Land Trust all blameless in case of injury during these events.