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Every theme that has played itself out in the history of the American South can be illustrated along a fourteen county rural route that's to become South Carolina's first Heritage Corridor. "The corridor is a historical and cultural microcosm of America's South--a living museum," says South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Grace McKown.

The first S.C. Heritage Corridor will encompass 14 counties from the port of Charleston west along the route of the old Charleston-to-Hamburg Railroad near Aiken, through the Savannah Valley area and the Freshwater Coast, and north to Oconee County.

It is the story of agriculture; transportation; Native Americans; Scotch-Irish Americans; English, French and German settlers; civil strife; migration; the impact of rivers; and the natural landscape--the Heritage Corridor is a living cultural and historical landscape of people and places that have played a unique role in the history of the state and of this nation.

A planning study will make recommendations for designating walking trails, scenic driving routes, water and bicycle trails, and the enhancement or creation of scenic, historic, and cultural interpretive programs. "Heritage tourism is an excellent foundation for rural economic development and the Heritage Corridor is a manifestation of what tourism can do for all South Carolina and particularly our rural communities," says Ms. McKown.

For more information about the South Carolina Heritage Corridor, contact the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at 1205 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29201, or call (803) 734-1277.