Open to the Public
Hiking / Birding / Wildflowers / Rare Plants / Hunting View All
The trails into the Green Swamp are very primitive. The trails in the longleaf pine savannas have recently been overrun with foot traffic, damaging the fragile ecosystem. Part of the Green Swamp is open to hunting through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Game Land program. View All
Coastal Plain; Brunswick County
GPS COORDINATES: (Trail Head off NC 221)
"Bolivia, Honey Island, Lewis Swamp, Supply"
Contact: NC Geographical Survey.
1612 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1612.
OWNERSHIP & ACCESS:
The Nature Conservancy
Southeast Coastal Plain Office
2807 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403
Federal Paper Board donated 13,850 acres of this preserve to The Nature Conservancy in 1977 and an additional 2,577 acres in the late 1980s. The Nature Conservancy has since purchased additional land in the preserve. The management of the Green Swamp Preserve is supported by the Estate of Harry Patrick Gold and Erma Green Gold.
- Blog for the Southeast Coastal Plain, "A Place Unlike Any Other"
- Website for the annual Fire in the Lakes family educational festival which takes place in nearby Boiling Spring Lakes
- For more information about how fire has historically benefited this great landscape, see our Prescribed Fire brochure
- Read about and see pictures from the Green Swamp and other surrounding TNC properties in our Southeastern Coastal Plain brochure
The Green Swamp contains some of the country’s finest examples of longleaf pine savannas. The open savannas have a diverse herb layer with many orchids and insectivorous plants. Almost 13,000 acres of the preserve, however, are comprised of a dense evergreen shrub bog (pocosin) dominated by gallberry, titi, and sweetbay.
The Green Swamp contains at least 14 different species of insectivorous plants, including:
- extensive populations of Venus flytrap
- four species of pitcher plant
The preserve is home to many rare animals, including:
- American alligator
- fox squirrel
- Henslow’s sparrow
- Bachman’s sparrow
- Hessel's hairstreak butterfly
One of the preserve’s rarest residents is the federally listed endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. This woodpecker takes its name from the male’s tiny red splotch behind its eye. The woodpecker prefers to nest in old-growth longleaf pines with red heart disease, since it can drill a nesting cavity in the softened core of the trees. The nesting trees are easily identified by the shiny, sticky coating of resin around the cavity that keeps eggs and young safe from predators such as ants, squirrels, and snakes.
The woodpeckers complete the nest in one to five years. The birds return to the same nest year after year, as long as sap continues to flow around the opening. Since these birds are so picky about their living quarters, protecting their habitat is critical to ensuring their survival.
The Nature Conservancy’s many management activities at the Green Swamp include prescribed burning, installing red-cockaded woodpecker nest boxes, and restoring pine plantations to longleaf pine savannas.
The Importance of Fire
Many of the plants in the Green Swamp benefit from periodic burning; pond pine’s cones burst and release seeds after being exposed to very high temperatures and wiregrass flowers vigorously after a fire. Longleaf pine seeds need bare ground to germinate and plenty of sunlight to grow, typical traits of plants that evolved in a landscape with frequent fires. The grasses and sedges of the Green Swamp have roots that are protected from the hottest fires, as do the orchids and insectivorous plants.
For more information about how fire has historically benefited this great landscape, see our Prescribed Fire Brochure.
Hiking / Birding / Wildflowers / Rare Plants / Hunting
*Please be aware that part of the preserve is open to hunting and that no dogs are allowed*
The trails into the Green Swamp are very primitive. The trails in the longleaf pine savannas have recently been overrun with foot traffic, damaging the fragile ecosystem. Part of the Green Swamp is open to hunting through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Game Land program. See their website, http://www.ncwildlife.org for hunting schedules.
A parking area for the Green Swamp Preserve is located 5.5 miles north of Supply on NC 211.