Few areas can match the variety and sheer abundance of wildlife in the Okefenokee. Located in the southeast corner of Georgia, the Okefenokee Swamp spans around 700 square miles and is the largest swamp in North America. The swamp includes a wide range of habitats, including wet and dry prairies, cypress swamps, winding waterways, and forested uplands. American alligators patrol the waters, and the land is also home to the endangered indigo snake, among 60 other reptile species. In fact, these diverse habitats support a staggering number of species, including more than 400 vertebrates. Wading birds like blue herons, wood storks, and white ibis frequent the swamps, as do more than 200 other types of bird. The swamp also contains the headwaters of two rivers: the Suwannee and the St. Mary’s rivers.
Logging of Okefenokee Swamp began in 1910, and over the next 25 years thousands of cypress, pine, and red bay trees were cut. The area received protection in 1937, when president Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which includes about 80 percent of the swamp.
In 1978, a private company donated 14,849 acres of the swamp to The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy in turn, then donated the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be added to the wildlife refuge.
For more information about the Okefenokee Swamp, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at www.fws.gov/okefenokee.