May 1, 2019
After a long and storied career spanning forty-two years with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), including seven years leading the agency, SCDNR Director Alvin Taylor has decided to retire. Taylor leaves behind a legacy of lofty accomplishments after helping the agency recover from historically low budgets and agency down-sizing. Although he will be missed in the halls of the Rembert C. Dennis Building, the agency’s headquarters, staff are happy for Taylor as he prepares for a new chapter in his life.
"Alvin became director at a time when the agency needed a leader who could find the best path through a storm," said SCDNR Board Chairman Norman Pulliam. "His integrity and friendly demeanor have set him apart as an agency leader, and he will long be remembered for his steady and honest dealing with political leaders, agency administrators and all SCDNR employees."
Among Taylor's many accolades, he may be most proud of the work the agency has done in the arena of youth outreach. Under his watch, the SCDNR has built a youth shooting sports program, including clay target sports and archery, almost from the ground up. The program now reaches more than 44,000 students in schools and clubs across the state. Just last year the clay target sports championship trail of skeet, trap and sporting clays established a Governor's Cup top prize to recognize the best in high school clay target sports. Besides mentoring in safety and conservation offered to participants, shooters have the opportunity to compete for more than $125,000 in college scholarship money through this program.
Taylor also worked to protect more land for the agency’s Wildlife Management Area and Heritage Preserve programs, totaling more than 1.1 million acres, that can be used by all the citizens of South Carolina, including hunters and anglers. During his tenure, the SCDNR took on the job of protecting the Wateree Heritage preserve, made up of Cooks Mountain and the old Goodwill Plantation in Lower Richland County, as well as the Liberty Hill Wildlife Management Area on Lake Wateree. The agency worked with the National Wild Turkey Federation to build the Palmetto Shooting Complex, a world class sporting clay facility in Edgefield, followed by the Wateree Range, an eight station sporting clays, rifle and pistol range alongside the Wateree River between Columbia and Sumter. Just this year, Tall Pines Wildlife Management Area along the South Saluda River in northern Greenville County was dedicated as the newest property — offering hunters, anglers, hikers and wildlife watchers more opportunities to head outdoors in the Upstate.
Besides working so hard for youth projects and protecting more than one million acres of public land, Taylor worked equally hard to provide leadership and increased funding for the many SCDNR teams, including the biologists and technicians who toil to restore habitats and protect game and non-game species native to the Palmetto State. In this role, Taylor notably led the South Carolina Quail Council as chairman of the steering committee in the agency’s renewed efforts to restore bobwhite quail in South Carolina in sustainable, huntable numbers. That effort already has produced success and offers much hope for the future of grassland birds in South Carolina.
"Without a doubt, Alvin Taylor has been exactly the right leader for the SCDNR during the past seven years, and he has enjoyed the full support of the SCDNR Board of Directors during his entire tenure,” Pulliam said. “There will always be more work to do, but Alvin leaves the agency with the tools and the morale needed to continue doing good work for the natural resources of South Carolina. His legacy may not be fully realized for years. In his humble manner, Alvin heaps accolades on others while he stands in the background. Most of all, whether you know him personally or not, he has been a friend to the citizens of this state."