Some claim new Langley Pond Loop Trail to be built on sacred burial grounds

News 12 at 11 / Tuesday, December 18, 2013

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- It was an unexpected controversy at a ground breaking this afternoon in Aiken County.

At first, it was an exciting announcement as leaders raved about a new 3.2 mile loop to be built right next to Langley Pond for hikers, joggers, and equine enthusiasts. But, in the midst of the celebration, the leaders got a question they didn't see coming.

It was called a historic day as leaders broke ground on the new Langley Pond Loop Trail coming in 2014.

"It'll be a 3.2 mile trail here. It'll be a multi-purpose trail. It'll be for hikers and joggers. It'll be for equine," GAIT Chairman David Jameson said.

After the announcement came this question from someone in the crowd: "Ground Scan came in with ground penetrating radar, and they have proven there are burial mounds. Are you willing to work around these burial mounds?"

Some say there's already something historic on these grounds that shouldn't be disturbed.

"We found graves ranging in size from four foot to six foot in size here in two different locations," explained concerned citizen Mel Minitor.

According to Minitor, video shot earlier this year proves Native American burial grounds are under this land. When he heard plans for the trail, Minitor decided he needed to voice his concern.

"You don't want to see a bunch of Native Americans riding horses through the cemetary of a church, neither do we want to see this happening here at Langley," he explained.

It was new information to trail designer Bill Victor, but he says it's something he'll definitely keep in mind as he creates the loop.

"I would be highly concerned about that. I just found out about that 10 minutes ago, and I don't know much about it, but that's something that we're going to have to respect. I certainly respect it," Victor said.

Victor also says he'll make it a sustainable trail so it'll look good as new even fifty years from now. The ultimate goal is to create a series of these multi-purpose trails that connect all throughout Aiken County.

This one should be open by fall of next year.

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