Coastal Plain; Brunswick County
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.
GPS COORDINATES: (TrailHead off NC 211)
Longitude: -78.29925218290 / Latitude: 34.09321823280
OWNERSHIP & ACCESS:
The Nature Conservancy
Southeast Coastal Plain Office
2807 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403
- Website for the annual Fire in the Pines family educational festival which takes place in nearby Wilmington, NC
- For more information about how fire has historically benefited this great landscape, see our Prescribed Fire brochure
"As a child I was obsessed with Venus flytraps. The idea of a plant eating a bug was just amazing to me. It still is. My favorite time to visit the Green Swamp is late May or early June when the flytraps are in bloom and the pitcher plants are at their prettiest. But, the preserve is awesome year round. A few years ago, I visited there in October when the Carolina Grass-of-Parnassus was in bloom. When people think of swamps, I believe they are imagining stuff they see on television – swamps like in Louisiana or Florida. But, our swamps are different – they aren't inundated with water. There is just so much going on there in the plant world." - Debbie Crane, Director of Communications
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
- Butterworts & bladderworts
- 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
The Nature Conservancy’s many management activities at the Green Swamp include prescribed burning 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. Fire knocks back shrubby vegetation so light can reach the forest floor, allowing these understory plant species to persist. For more information about how fire has historically benefited this great landscape, see our Prescribed Fire Brochure.
The Green Swamp is open to visitors year-round from sun-up to sun-down.
There is one trail that takes you through several savannas in the Green Swamp. It is a mile and half out-and-back. It is primitive, but marked with red diamond markers. The trail is flat. A small portion of the trail is boardwalk through thick shrubs. The board walk can get quite slippery, so be careful.
You are advised to wear close-toed shoes. The swamp can be quite wet at times, so you might consider waterproof shoes. The swamp can be buggy from late May through the first frost, so insect repellent is also advised.
Because of the fragile nature of the preserve, visitors should remain on the trail.
- Part of the Green Swamp is open to hunting through the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Game Land program. See their website for hunting schedules.
- Dogs are permitted on the trail, but must be leashed.
- Camping is not allowed.
- Overnight parking at the trailhead is not allowed.
The preserve is open year-round during daylight hours. From Wilmington follow US 17 south to Supply, NC. At the intersection of HWY 211 (there is a Hardees’ and Kangaroo gas station at this intersection) turn right and follow HWY 211 north for 5 miles. The parking area for the trailhead will be on the right; there is a small parking area sign just before the turn off. A kiosk at the trailhead gives you more information about the preserve.