Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
Swamps seem to have mysterious and dark histories from legends and lore of the local people who live near or in such lands. Yet if one can ignore the ghost stories and creatures who prowl through the mists and murky waters, there is a lot of beauty and natural wonder to be found. The Okefenokee Swamp is one such place where vacationers and campers will find some very unique experiences.
The Okefenokee, covering approximately seven hundred square miles, is the largest swamp in North America. It lies on the border of Georgia and Florida. Most of the swamp is part of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge which Covers 403,000 acres of peat filled bog land.
So, what does one do in a swamp, besides watch carefully for the wildlife and do not interfere with it -- or stay clear of the carnivorous plants, such as the giant Sarracenia minor okefenokeensis, (also known as the Hooded pitcher plant)? In the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Swamp there is a lot to do.
Guided tours through the swamps waterways by motorboat, canoe or kayak are available from local outfitters.
Wildlife viewing is phenomenal and changes every month of the year due to the many different species and their time of activity. Some other adventures include hiking, hunting, fishing, boating and boat tours, canoeing, bicycling (on paved roads only), and an excellent opportunity for the nature photographer. Nature Photography workshops and contests are also available. The Chesser Island homestead is on the eastern edge of the Okefenokee and a must see, must learn about attraction. Their family history is very interesting.
Special events are planned throughout the year. For general information, call the Refuge center at (912) 496-7836 9am-5pm daily except December 25th.
For camping or local lodging information, rules and regulations, permits, maps, fees, etc. check out the web site at:
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Plan your trip wisely and be well prepared for possible encounters with venomous snakes. Check with the refuge tourist center or website for brochures and more tips and information.