A Local I Passed By, Alligator

A Local I Passed By, Alligator – History Of WMA

My notes on these were not all that good, so I’m doing a best guess where this was taken. (Long but interesting history at the end here)

A Local I Passed By, Alligator
A Local I Passed By, Alligator

I know it was at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, ACE Basin. Probably in the first rice pond, behind the old hunting lodge.

A Local I Passed By, Alligator
A Local I Passed By, Alligator

Now, if the name Donnelley sounds familiar…think telephone yellow pages (R.R. Donnelley Publishing).  They were the last owner, then donated the thousands of acres to South Carolina as part of the ACE WMA.

The short version is this. Plantations owned, and grew rice, all along the coast. The size of several current US states. We had a Civil War, plantations were burned, and enslaved people set free. The end of the rice fields though it took a while. Finally wealthy northern business men bought all the plantation lands, hunting clubs for the wealthy elite.

Ultimately the unheard of happened. A conservationist figured out how to get private land, public land, and money together. This formed the South Carolina system of wildlife areas. Billions of dollars and land donated.

Never happened before, hasn’t happened since. Just this ‘arrangement’.

The Yawkeys, owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, gave a huge tract of land and barrier island in the 1970”s to the WMA.

That was thought to be the last donation until a few years ago. Ted Turner and Jane Fonda sold at very little cost  another entire barrier island. This one is a biologist dream, untouched ancient land.

Yawkey and the Turner areas are ‘off limits’ except by special arrangement.  And….we have been lucky enough to have photographed both thanks to the South Carolina Dept. Natural Resources. Ellen and I were one of the first allowed on the Turner land. They brought us by boat, gave us a map, and hoped they would see us again.

It worked out.


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