Savannah Valley Trail dedicates new Frank Clayton Trestle over Mill Creek
A dream was realized out in the woods this past Saturday morning when more than 50 McCormick residents gathered to dedicate the Savannah Valley Trails Frank Clayton Trestle over the Mill Creek. “Frank would be so very excited to see this,” said Verna Clayton, Frank’s widow. “Thanks to all of you for making this possible. If Frank were here, he’d probably be doing a dance on this trestle.” Verna recounted how Frank recruited Alan Berger to help him with the McCormick Children’s Home, and when Frank fell ill, he asked Verna to call Alan again to see the trestle through to completion. “I need to talk with Alan,” said Verna, quoting Frank. “They came up with a plan to make this happen, and Don Norton was on board from the very beginning, too. “I hope you continue to grow the Savannah Valley Trail (SVT). It is a wonderful addition to McCormick,” Verna said. Berger credited the “tons of people involved, from grant writers to bush whackers. Frank Clayton was instrumental to this trail from day one, but when it came to this trestle, we hit a roadblock, and it’s great to have overcome it,” he said. McCormick County Councilman Bernie Hamby ex- pounded: “This project began 16 or 17 years ago, and it took us eight years to get the grant for this trestle. We overcame a lot of obstacles and legal challenges to make this dream come true, but it exceeds my expectations,” Hamby said. “This is the start of a linear state park system to include Hamilton Branch, Baker Creek, Hickory Knob and Lake Russell State Parks. When completed, it will be the longest walking trail system in South Carolina. “We were told that we could not make this happen. I am very proud that people came together to make this happen,” said Hamby. SVT’s trestle engineer Brad Allen furnished trestle details: $21,000 worth of western red cedar in 6-inch by 6-inch, 16-feet lengths and 2-inch by 10-inch 16-feet lengths; $1,100 for 128 feet of vinyl coated wire screening; $1,500 for various fasteners and screws, and “three cans of yellow jacket spray. Those guys were nasty,” Al- len said. “All told, we have about $25,000 invested in this trestle,” Allen said. “Savannah Lakes Village’s community services department contributed gravel and stone and the use of its power post hole digger, and we’re very appreciative of that. “Our next step is to clear the trail up to Willington, and we hope to do that by the end of next year,” said Allen. The event was well publicized, and a pair of bikers from Martinez were the very first to cross the Frank Clayton Trestle. “We had some bush whacking help from the Boy Scouts and kids from John de la Howe,” Hamby said. “This is a great project for kids to learn about history, nature and what we can accomplish when we work together.” Hamby then got busy grilling hot dogs for all the participants, and the SVTers also had drinks and desserts for the celebrants.
The Frank Clayton Trestle over the Mill Creek was dedicated to Frank last Saturday morning. Significant contributors to the project include (l-r): Fred Muller, Bernie Hamby, Verna Clayton, Elyse Benson, Alan Berger and Brad Allen. -Stockton Photo Article provide by the McCormick Messenger