Okefenokee Swamp Facts

Okefenokee Swamp Facts
The Okefenokee Swamp is a 700 square mile wetland in the United States located in the south-eastern corner of the state of Georgia, along the Florida/Georgia border. The swamp is believed to have been formed approximately 6,500 years ago, when peat had accumulated in the shallow basin. The name 'Okefenokee' is believed to have originated from the indigenous Creek people that inhabited the region. It is believed to mean 'Waters Shaking', not the original translation of 'Land of Trembling Earth' that had previously been thought to be correct. Within the Okefenokee Swamp lies cypress swamps, floating peat mats, winding natural waterways, shrubs, forests and a high sand ridge.
Interesting Okefenokee Swamp Facts:
The majority of Okefenokee Swamp is located within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and Okefenokee Wilderness, which protects it from human destruction.
Okefenokee Swamp is North America's largest blackwater swamp. A blackwater swamp is one that is darkly stained by vegetation decay, resembling black tea or coffee.
In 1974 Okefenokee Swamp was designated a National Natural Landmark.
People who have lived in Okefenokee Swamps region for many years are referred to as 'Swampers'.
Okefenokee Swamp is home to a diverse range of wildlife and birds, reptiles, and amphibians. There are roughly 400 vertebrate species, 60 reptile species, and 200 bird species known to live in the swamp region.
There are a large number of American alligators living in the Okefenokee Swamp.
The Florida black bear resides in the Okefenokee Swamp region, along with herons, egrets, bitterns, cranes, woodpeckers, toads, frogs, snakes, turtles, and lizards.
There are 120 miles of water trails in the Okefenokee Swamp that can be enjoyed by boaters and paddlers. Most of the swamp is on average 2 feet to ten feet deep.
For almost 25 years beginning in 1910 the Okefenokee Swamp was logged for its very old cypress, red bay, and pine trees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt put a stop to it in 1937 when he protected the area from logging.
It is estimated the approximately 400,000 tourists visit Okefenokee Swamp.
There are four entrances for the public to gain access to Okefenokee Swamps including the Suwannee Sill Recreation Area in Fargo, Stephen C. Foster State Park in Fargo, Kingfisher Landing in Race Pond, and Suwannee Canal Recreation Area in Folkston.
People wishing to visit Okefenokee Swamps can also gain access near Waycross, Georgia, at a privately owned park called Okefenokee Swamp Park.
In 2000 the company DuPont abandoned their mineral rights to the area. They had been planning a titanium mining operation that would last for 50 years but protests and opposition by government led to the decision to donate the land. 7000 acres of the 16,000 acres was donated to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the rest remained with The Conservation Fund.
Okefenokee Swamp has been damaged by wildfire in recent years, most notably in 2007 when two wildfires merged and burned more than 600,000 acres in the area. This fire was called the Bugaboo Scrub Fire.
Another fire began in 2011 that scorched much of the area again.


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