Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Honoring a North Carolina Wildlife 'Lifer'

Kim DeLozier and wife Donna
Plain and simple, it was an evening dedicated to those who make a real difference for wildlife and conservation in North Carolina. They gathered from across the state for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s 52nd Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards. The awards are the highest natural resource honors given in the state and recognize those who have shown an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina.

Among those on hand was Kim Delozier, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation conservation program manager serving over the eastern United States. Kim was among 20 honorees who work for species ranging from elk, falcons, song birds and bear as well as water quality and land stewardship advocates, those helping to preserve unique ecosystems and others connecting youth to nature. 

“Our natural resources sustain the lives of countless species and are a part of our rich heritage,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “From the mountains to the coast, North Carolina can boast of preserving wildlife habitats that make our communities stronger and keep our state beautiful. It is my privilege to join the North Carolina Wildlife Federation in congratulating this year’s honorees for their dedication to protection of wildlife and wildlife habitats in North Carolina.”

Delozier’s efforts have proven instrumental in working with various state agencies to assist with elk restoration projects east of the Mississippi River.

Below are the introductory remarks made before Kim’s acceptance speech. 

Kim DeLozier worked for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 32 years, and for 32 years DeLozier had his hands in some of the most complex, intriguing wildlife issues of the era. Black bears, wild hogs, river otter, peregrine falcons, elk, red wolves, skunks, deer—from reintroductions to re-locations to restoring vanished populations, Delozier was the go-to, hands-on guy for a huge range of Great Smokies wildlife.

And then he retired, and DeLozier learned something about himself. After three decades of working on some of the thorniest, and most rewarding, wildlife issues of the Southern Appalachians, his heart was so wound up in the wildlife of the high country that he couldn’t stop, caring, couldn’t stop thinking, couldn’t stop working for wildlife.

And that’s what this retiree has done ever since. DeLozier has worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NC Wildlife Federation, The Conservation Fund, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and other partners to establish the first wildlife management area for elk in North Carolina in Maggie Valley in Haywood County. Thanks to Kim’s biological training, educational efforts, and interpersonal skills, the Wildlife Commission and others have begun to recognize the conservation and economic benefits that a sustainable elk population can bring to Western North Carolina. 

Use it or lose it seems to be DeLozier’s mantra. Use the expertise and insight and passion of 32 years of wildlife service—or see the high country lost its chance to thrive in an ever-challenging world. Kim DeLozier is the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.

Congratulations to Kim and all the other award winners for their dedication to conservation and wildlife.

As a side note, Kim is also author of the Wall Street Journal best seller Bear in the Backseat, Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger. The compilation of short stories chronicles his experiences in a previous career working as a ranger in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It’s also a pretty good read—not surprising when you consider Kim’s dedication to wildlife coupled with his zest for life.

Department of Natural Resources Director of Government Affairs Matthew Dockman, Delozier & NC Wildlife
Federation Vice Chair Dr. Bob Brown (left to right)


  1. Thank you. I love seeing the elk roam the valleys and hills once again in NC.
    Without the support and hard work of people like you this would never have been possible! The elk have spread far beyond Cataloochee Valley.