Glendale Outdoor Leadership School (GOLS)

Located in Glendale South Carolina, the Glendale Outdoor Leadership School (GOLS) sits on a ridge above the dramatic shoals of Lawson’s Fork off the Pacolet River. GOLS, once a program of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF), was the host of community outdoor education, recreation, and leadership.

Palmetto Conservation Foundation recently transferred ownership of the Glendale Outdoor Leadership property and facility to the Local Hiker of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This exchange will ensure that the mission to foster environmental stewardship and create opportunities to enhance personal growth, healthy living and outdoor recreation will continue. GOLS provides hands-on, experiential training for individuals of all ages.

GOLS was established in 2007 as a Palmetto Conservation Foundation program and was supported generously with major funding from the Mary Black Foundation in Spartanburg, SC.

The community embarked on an “Imagine Glendale” visioning process in 2004, made possible with funding by the Mary Black Foundation. A priority for the town’s residents was to preserve Glendale’s historic structures, most importantly the Glendale United Methodist Church and accompanying buildings. GOLS owes its founding to the town of Glendale’s commitment to preserving and revitalizing itself in the face of significant economic challenges. Like many mill towns in South Carolina, Glendale has suffered economically since the closure of its textile operations.

Established in October of 2013, The Local Hiker is a locally owned business on the east end of Main Street in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina. Their purpose in the upstate is to educate, encourage and equip those looking to get in the outdoors.  They want to ensure everyone has a great experience whether they’re hiking, biking, climbing, camping or even kayaking.


The Local Hiker is excited about and looking forward to building on the foundation of the great programming already in place at GOLS! The Local Hiker will work towards continued growth and accessibility of GOLS programming knowing that what it has to offer can boost people’s confidence and overall health, all while exposing them to some pretty amazing outdoor recreation.


Blueways are water trails designed for accessible paddling with launch sites, maps, and points of interest.

Palmetto Conservation collaborated with the Glendale Outdoor Leadership School, Spartanburg County, and the SC Department of Natural Resources to develop the Pacolet & Lawson’s Fork Blueway, which opened in September 2014. The blueway consists of 50 miles of river travel and recreation that begins in Metropolitan Spartanburg both on the Pacolet River and its Lawson’s Fork, and extends on the Broad River to Lockhart where a portage leads to the lower Broad River.

Other groups contributing to the blueway development included Lockhart Power Company, Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Spartanburg Area Conservancy, Spartanburg County Parks Department, Wofford College, Spartanburg Water, and the towns of Pacolet, Lockhart, Clifton, and Glendale.

Paddle the Palmetto State

Connecting paddlers of all skill levels to over 2,500 miles of scenic waterways and detailed trips in South Carolina


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