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Lorax of the Upstate

Upstate Forever leader keeps score of wins, but fears ‘losing war’

Written by Nathaniel Cary Staff writer

Jul. 12, 2013 | greenvilleonline.com

Brad Wyche took up the mantel as The Lorax of the Upstate 15 Years ago in a quest to stem the sprawl that creeps along the spokes that extend from Greenville, the city he’s always called home.

Wyche doesn’t speak with the “bossy” demands of the character coined in the Dr. Seuss children’s book. His tone is measured, his manner more that of cooperative negotiator, but like the Lorax, Wyche strives to preserve the forests and waterways for future generations.

Much of what is great about the Upstate’s outdoors can be traced to the Wyche name. His father, Tommy, worked tirelessly to protect from development the blue wall of mountains that rises to Greenville’s north. His late mother, Harriet, championed the construction of Falls Park on the Reedy.And just as Brad started the fledgling nonprofit conservation organization, Upstate Forever, in 1998, he orchestrated the purchase of an overgrown and abandoned railroad line that he hoped to turn into a paved bicycle trail —the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail.

In its first 15 Years, Wyche has guided Upstate Forever as founder and executive director of the first land trust and regional environmental advocacy organization in the Upstate.In that time, the group has seen nearly 18,000 acres of what he terms “special places” permanently conserved from development. They’ve worked to clean the Reedy and Saluda rivers and to protect Lake Greenwood from harmful algae blooms. They’ve encouraged building sustainable, walkable communities as hubs of activity with networks of trails and parks.

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