I had a chance to visit the Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Folkston and Waycross, GA, last Saturday. The Okeefenokee Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee River, and, as a member of the Lower Suwannee Friends group I was interested in seeing our "birthplace." I had not been in the Okeefenokee since I was a boy and my uncle used to take me fishing there. It is a wondrous place of almost 500,000 acres. A concessionaire provides canoe and boat rentals, guided tours, etc. Okeefenokee is an indian word meaning "Land of the Trembling Earth" for its floating islands of matted vegetation. It is made up of a series of swamps and underwater prairies. The prairies are about 3'-4' deep most of the time, but do go dry during droughts. The photos here are of Chesser's Prairie and the canal leading out to it.
Need information? Refuge Manager Andrew Gude can be reached by text or phone at 703.622.3896.
Flood Causes Closures. CR 347 in Levy County is closed and access to the Refuge in Levy County is not possible at this time. Flooding is also occurring in Dixie County and Refuge roads may be closed there also.
The print version of the 2019-2020 Hunt Regulations Brochure is now available at Refuge headquarters. For an digital version,
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Visitors are welcome to walk or bicycle around yellow Refuge gates.
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