May/June 2018Directionsby Alvin Taylor, Director, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

When I was growing up, I had many opportunities to explore the great outdoors in Marion County. As a young farm boy, I only thought about the redbreast in the Little Pee Dee River and the quail that I would find with my pointer Spot. I looked forward to shooting doves in the corn field after the grain was harvested and going on the occasional duck hunt. I have to admit that I took all of this for granted; it was life in the country. I would spend many days afield with my Western Auto .22 or my Sears-Roebuck youth single-shot 20 gauge. That was all that mattered then. I believe these special outdoor experiences shaped my life in significant ways - and I had only seen Marion County!

Today, I marvel at the beauty of Botany Bay, Deveaux Bank, Lake Marion, Cook's Mountain, Jocassee Gorges, Jumping-off Rock, and the myriad other special places in South Carolina. Just writing those names makes me smile. I realize how thankful I am to live in such a magnificent state with so many magical places to explore and how blessed I am to work for an agency whose staff just plain love South Carolina. SCDNR staff truly love being tasked with protecting and managing these resources.

Although I have worked many years for the SCDNR, I have never given much thought through the years to the economic contribution of our natural resources. We are blessed with abundant natural resources that are crucial to our quality of life. If you are enjoying swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, camping, hiking or rock climbing, you are also contributing to the state's economy.

In 2016, Clemson University completed a study evaluating the economic impact of South Carolina's natural resources on the state. They reported that the contribution of South Carolina's natural resource-based economy was 33.4 billion dollars - generating 218,719 jobs. Can you believe it? On a cold, frosty morning in a duck blind, the economics of what we are doing is the last thing on our minds, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, what we contribute in our outdoor pursuits is critical to South Carolina. As summer approaches, let's get ready to go boating and fishing and enjoy a wonderful outdoor experience, and oh, by the way, we'll also be contributing to the economic well-being of the Palmetto State.

Job well done sportsmen and sportswomen!

- Alvin Taylor, Director
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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