The land around Hobcaw began to see changes. Developers had started draining some of the wetlands, and local wildlife began to diminish. Belle knew that preserving the habitat would be no easy task. She hired Nolan Taylor as plantation manager of Hobcaw Barony, and he helped Belle develop a plan to maintain the forests. Belle also got her airplanes back, and she regularly patrolled the property in the skies, looking out for trespassers, fishers, and poachers hunting on her property.
On one of Belle’s trips to New York, she met Dickie Leyland, and they lived together for over 10 years. Dickie was a very possessive person, alienating people who were close to Belle. On one of her trips to Europe, Belle was reunited with an old friend. Ella Severin. Ella was invited to visit Bellefield, and this infuriated Dickie. When Ella moved in, Dickie left Belle. Belle and Ella lived peacefully in Hobcaw, and in 1956, Bernard Baruch signed over all ownership of Hobcaw Barony to Belle, and Belle worked with her lawyers to create a foundation to preserve the property.
In 1962, Belle was diagnosed with cancer, and she passed away in April 1964, at the age of 64. Today, Hobcaw Barony features the most pristine estuary on the Eastern coast of the United States, and is viewed as a cherished gift for South Carolinians.