Okefenokee Swamp

Okefenokee Swamp

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The Okefenokee Swamp is a shallow, 438,000 acre
Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

 (1,770 km²), peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

-filled wetland straddling the Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 border in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. A majority of the swamp
Swamp
A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

 is in Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 402,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge located in Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties of Georgia, and Baker County in Florida, United States. The refuge is administered from offices in Folkston, Georgia. The refuge was established in 1937 to protect...

 and the Okefenokee Wilderness
Okefenokee Wilderness
Okefenokee Wilderness is an 353,981 acre U.S. Wilderness Area located in southeastern Georgia in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It was established and governed under the Wilderness Act of 1974 when were designated as wilderness by...

. The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The Okefenokee is the largest peat-based "blackwater" swamp in North America, and one of the largest in the world.

Location and history


The name comes from Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

, an extinct Indian language related to the Mikasuki language
Mikasuki language
The Mikasuki language is a Muskogean language spoken by around 500 people in southern Florida. It is spoken by the Miccosukee tribe as well as many Florida Seminoles. The now-extinct Hitchiti language was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki.-Sounds:There are three tones, high, low and falling...

 spoken by the Miccosukee
Miccosukee
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are a federally recognized Native American tribe in the U.S. state of Florida. They were part of the Seminole nation until the mid-20th century, when they organized as an independent tribe, receiving federal recognition in 1962...

 tribe and many of the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

s. The Hitichi original is okifanô:ki, meaning "bubbling water", or alternatively "trembling earth", a reference to its spongy bogs. Earlier, during the Spanish
Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish territory of Florida, which formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire. Originally extending over what is now the southeastern United States, but with no defined boundaries, la Florida was a component of...

 period, it was known as Lake Oconi, a reference to the Oconi, a Timucua
Timucua
The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the...

 tribe of the area.

The swamp was formed over the past 6,500 years by the accumulation of peat in a shallow basin on the edge of an ancient Atlantic coastal terrace, the geological relic of a Pleistocene estuary. The swamp is bordered by Trail Ridge, a strip of elevated land believed to have formed as coastal dunes or an offshore barrier island. The St. Marys River and the Suwanee River both originate in the swamp. The Suwanee River originates as stream channels in the heart of Okefenokee Swamp and drains at least 90% of the swamp's watershed southwest towards the Gulf of Mexico. The St. Marys River, which drains only 5–10% of the swamp's southeastern corner, flows south along the western side of Trail Ridge, through the ridge at St. Marys River Shoals, and north again along the eastern side of Trail Ridge before turning east to the Atlantic. Longtime residents of the Okefenokee Swamp, referred to as "Swampers", were of overwhelmingly English ancestry. Due to relative isolation, the inhabitants of the Okefenokee used Elizabethan phrases and syntax preserved since the early colonial period when such speech was common in England, well into the twentieth century. The Suwanee Canal
Suwanee Canal
The Suwanee Canal was an attempt to drain large portions of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia via a canal.In 1889, the Georgia General Assembly authorized the Governor to sell the land containing the Okefenokee Swamp to the highest bidder....

 was dug across the swamp in the late nineteenth century in a failed attempt to drain the Okefenokee. After the company's bankruptcy, most of the swamp was purchased by the Hebard family of Philadelphia, who conducted extensive cypress logging operations from 1909 to 1927. Several other logging companies ran railroad lines into the swamp until 1942; some remnants remain visible crossing swamp waterways. On the west side of the swamp, at Billy's Island, logging equipment and other artifacts remain of a 1920s logging town of 600 residents. Most of the Okefenokee Swamp is included in the 403,000 acre (1630 km²) Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 402,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge located in Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties of Georgia, and Baker County in Florida, United States. The refuge is administered from offices in Folkston, Georgia. The refuge was established in 1937 to protect...

.

There are four public entrances or landings to the swamp:
  • Suwanee Canal Recreation Area at Folkston, Georgia
    Folkston, Georgia
    Folkston is a city in and the county seat of Charlton County, Georgia, United States. The population was 2,178 at the 2000 census.-History:...

  • Kingfisher Landing at Race Pond, Georgia
  • Stephen C. Foster State Park
    Stephen C. Foster State Park
    Stephen C. Foster State Park is an state park located in the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, Georgia. Situated on the banks of the Suwannee River, the park offers visitors several ways to explore the swamp's unique ecosystem.-Facilities:...

     at Fargo, Georgia
    Fargo, Georgia
    Fargo is a city in Clinch County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 380. Formerly a town, it was incorporated by the Georgia state legislature in 1992, effective on April 1 of that year....

  • Suwanee Sill Recreation Area at Fargo, Georgia
    Fargo, Georgia
    Fargo is a city in Clinch County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 380. Formerly a town, it was incorporated by the Georgia state legislature in 1992, effective on April 1 of that year....



In addition, a private attraction, Okefenokee Swamp Park
Okefenokee Swamp Park
Okefenokee Swamp Park, located near Waycross, Georgia, United States, is an entry point to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The Okefenokee Swamp itself is the most extensive blackwater swamp in North America.- External links :...

, provides access near Waycross, Georgia
Waycross, Georgia
Waycross is the county seat of, and only incorporated city in, Ware County in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population was 14,725 at the 2010 Census. A small portion of the city extends into Pierce County. According the U.S...

.

State Road 2
State Road 2 (Florida)
County Road 2A, formerly State Road 2A, exists in two segments. The first is a short spur that runs into the town of New Harmony in Walton County, and the second runs from the Walton-Holmes County line, through Royals Crossroads to CR 185. The road is signed as Holmes County Road 2A....

 passes through the Florida portion between the Georgia cities of Council and Moniac
Moniac, Georgia
Moniac, an unincorporated settlement situated along the St. Mary's river in southern Charlton County, is the southernmost named settlement in the U.S. state of Georgia. Part of the Georgia Bend , the area was an early trading post in the 1820s as the 'last outpost' before crossing into the Florida...

.

A graded sand road, Swamp Perimeter Road, encircles Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Gated and closed to public use, it provides access for fire management of the interface between the federal refuge and the surrounding industrial tree farms.

A wildfire
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

 which began with a lightning strike near the center of the Refuge on May 5, 2007 eventually merged with another wildfire which began near Waycross, Georgia
Waycross, Georgia
Waycross is the county seat of, and only incorporated city in, Ware County in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population was 14,725 at the 2010 Census. A small portion of the city extends into Pierce County. According the U.S...

 on April 16 due to a tree falling on a power line. By May 31, more than 600000 acres (2,428.1 km²) had burned in the region, or more than 935 square miles (2400 km²), "an area greater than the State of Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

".

The Okefenokee Swamp Alliance is a conservation group that works for continued preservation of the swamp.

Tourism


Many visitors enter the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 402,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge located in Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties of Georgia, and Baker County in Florida, United States. The refuge is administered from offices in Folkston, Georgia. The refuge was established in 1937 to protect...

 each year. The swamp provides an important economic resource to southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. About 400,000 people visit the swamp annually, with many guests from such distant locations as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, China and Mexico. Service providers at the Refuge entrances and several local outfitters offer guided tours by motorboat, canoe, and kayak.

DuPont titanium mining operation


A 50-year titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

 mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 operation by DuPont
DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

 was set to begin in 1997, but protests and public–government opposition over the possibly disastrous environmental effects throughout 1996–2000 caused the company to abandon the project in 2000 and retire their mineral rights forever. In 2003, DuPont donated the 16,000 acres (65 km²) it had purchased for mining to The Conservation Fund
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The United States' Land and Water Conservation Fund is a Federal program that was established by Act of Congress in 1964 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and easements on land and water, for the benefit of all...

, and in 2005, nearly 7,000 acres (28 km²) of the donated land was transferred to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildlife



The Okefenokee Swamp is home to many wading birds, such as heron
Heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

s, egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s, ibis
Ibis
The ibises are a group of long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae....

es, crane
Crane (bird)
Cranes are a family, Gruidae, of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the order Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back...

s, and bittern
Bittern
Bitterns are a classification of birds in the heron family, Ardeidae, a family of wading birds. Species named bitterns tend to be the shorter-necked, often more secretive members of this family...

s, though populations fluctuate with water levels. Okefenokee is famous for its amphibians and reptiles such as toad
Toad
A toad is any of a number of species of amphibians in the order Anura characterized by dry, leathery skin , short legs, and snoat-like parotoid glands...

s, frog
Frog
Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura , formerly referred to as Salientia . Most frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits , protruding eyes and the absence of a tail...

s, turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s, lizard
Lizard
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with nearly 3800 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica as well as most oceanic island chains...

s, snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

s, as well as the abundance of American alligator
Alligator
An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. There are two extant alligator species: the American alligator and the Chinese alligator ....

s; it is also a critical habitat for the Florida Black Bear
Florida Black Bear
The Florida black bear is a subspecies of the American black bear that has historically ranged throughout most of Florida and southern portions of Alabama and Georgia. The large black-furred bears live mainly in forested areas and have seen recent habitat reduction throughout the state...

.

In addition, the Okefenokee Swamp has many species of carnivorous plants, including many species of Utricularia, Sarracenia psittacina
Sarracenia psittacina
Sarracenia psittacina, also known as the parrot pitcher plant, is a carnivorous plant in the genus Sarracenia. Like all the Sarracenia, it is native to North America, in the Southeastern United States....

, and the giant Sarracenia minor var. okefenokeensis
Sarracenia minor
Sarracenia minor, also known as the Hooded pitcher plant, is a perennial, terrestrial, rhizomatous, herbaceous, carnivorous plant in the genus Sarracenia. Like all the Sarracenia, it is native to the New World.-Etymology:...

.

Two recordings of the sounds of the Okefenokee Swamp were released in the 1970s on the Environments (series)
Environments (series)
Environments is a series of LPs, cassettes, 8-Track cartridges and CDs created by producer and sound recordist Irving Solomon Teibel for Syntonic Research Inc. between 1970 and 1979. The series consists of recordings of natural sounds such as a seashore with crashing waves or a thunderstorm with...

 LPs.

Recent events



More than 600000 acres (2,428.1 km²) of the Okefenokee region burned from April to July 2007. Essentially all of the swamp burned, though the degrees of impact vary widely. Smoke from the fires was reported as far away as Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 and Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

.

History of the Okefenokee in popular culture

  • The name "Okefenokee" has appeared many times in American pop culture, including Walt Kelly
    Walt Kelly
    Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. , or Walt Kelly, was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip, Pogo. He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to Pinocchio and Fantasia. Kelly resigned in 1941 at the age of 28 to work at Post-Hall Syndicate,...

    's comic strip
    Comic strip
    A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

     Pogo, where the characters made their home in the Okefenokee Swamp, Freddy Cannon
    Freddy Cannon
    Frederick Anthony Picariello Jr. , known as Freddy Cannon, is an American rock and roll singer, whose biggest international hits included "Tallahassee Lassie", "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans", and "Palisades Park".-Biography:...

    's 1959 hit "Okefenokee", and Larry Verne
    Larry Verne
    Larry Verne was an American novelty song singer. Verne scored two U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart hit singles in 1960: "Mister Livingston" and "Mr. Custer" . "Mr. Custer" was written by Fred Darian, Al DeLory, and Joe Van Winkle. The record sold over one million copies, earning a gold disc. In the...

    's "Okefenokee Two-Step".
  • In Piers Anthony
    Piers Anthony
    Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob is an English American writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel series set in the fictional realm of Xanth.Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best...

    's Xanth
    Xanth
    Xanth is a fantasy world created by author Piers Anthony for his Xanth series of novels, also known as The Magic of Xanth.-History:The name Xanth is in itself an unintentional pun, which matches the playful tone of the books...

     novels, the fantasy realm of Xanth is a parallel universe
    Parallel universe (fiction)
    A parallel universe or alternative reality is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexisting with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a "multiverse", although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality...

     of Earth's Florida, and includes a mirror of the Okefenokee, called the Ogre
    Ogre
    An ogre is a large, cruel, monstrous, and hideous humanoid monster, featured in mythology, folklore, and fiction. Ogres are often depicted in fairy tales and folklore as feeding on human beings, and have appeared in many classic works of literature...

    -fen-ogre Fen.
  • The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
  • An episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had Krang accidentally sending a canister of mutagen ooze to the Okefenokee Swamp, mutating four frogs into superhuman creatures. Shredder trains the frogs in martial arts and give them names: Attila the Frog, Genghis Frog, Rasputin the Mad Frog and Napoleon Bonafrog.
  • On the original Scooby Doo cartoons they showed the "Oke-Fu-noke Swamp"(as they spelled it) on several shows. It was the home of Scooby-Dum
  • On August 24, 1959 Freddy Cannon
    Freddy Cannon
    Frederick Anthony Picariello Jr. , known as Freddy Cannon, is an American rock and roll singer, whose biggest international hits included "Tallahassee Lassie", "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans", and "Palisades Park".-Biography:...

     had a Top 100 hit with the song "Okefenokee"; it Peaked at #43.
  • In 1960 Larry Verne
    Larry Verne
    Larry Verne was an American novelty song singer. Verne scored two U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart hit singles in 1960: "Mister Livingston" and "Mr. Custer" . "Mr. Custer" was written by Fred Darian, Al DeLory, and Joe Van Winkle. The record sold over one million copies, earning a gold disc. In the...

     released the song Okefenokee Two-Step.
  • "3am At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee" is a track on Tangerine Dream
    Tangerine Dream
    Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member...

    's 1976 album Stratosfear
    Stratosfear
    Stratosfear is an electronic music album released in 1976 by the German group Tangerine Dream. It marks the beginning of the band's development away from their uncompromising early 1970s synthesizer experiments toward a recognizably more melodic sound, a trend they would pick up again in 1979's...

    .
  • The theme song for the motion picture Gator
    Gator (film)
    Gator is a 1976 action film starring and directed by Burt Reynolds. It is a sequel to White Lightning. Reynolds honored his favorite professor from college, Watson B...

    , sung by Jerry Reed, was titled "The Ballad Of Gator Mcklusky" which is about the "Okefenokee Swamp".
  • Some of T.C. Boyle's novel East is East is set in the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • The Okefenokee Swamp is a playable map in Tom Clancy's Endwar
    Tom Clancy's EndWar
    Tom Clancy's EndWar is a real-time tactics game designed by Ubisoft Shanghai for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows platforms. The Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable versions feature turn-based tactics instead of the real-time tactics of their console counterparts...

    .
  • Gucci Mane
    Gucci Mane
    Radric Davis , better known by his stage name Gucci Mane, is an American rapper. He debuted in 2005 with Trap House and followed with albums such as Hard to Kill in 2006, Trap-A-Thon and Back to the Trap House in 2007. In 2009, his second studio album The State vs. Radric Davis was released...

     mentions the Okefenokee in his song "Big Cat (LaFlare)".
  • The Okefenokee Swamp Alliance is a conservation, protection and advocacy group with international membership and is dedicated to the continued preservation of this wetland ecosystem bordering Georgia and Florida.
  • Bobby Bare sings a song titled "Miller's Cave" based on Waycross, GA and the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • The fictitious 1947 Roger Rabbit cartoon, The Wet Nurse, is supposedly set in the "OkeyDokey Swamp", as a tribute to the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • Over the 11 years M*A*S*H was on the air, the script made several references to the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • Gene Simmons: Family Jewels Season 5, Episode 10: Gene the Croc Hunter, Original Air Date—2 May 2010, Gene and Tony get sucked into a Bayou adventure while in the swamp. Gene makes reference to the people from the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • On episode #144 of Cash Cab
    Cash Cab
    Cash Cab is a TV game show devised by Adam Wood that originated in the United Kingdom and has been licensed to television networks in numerous other countries...

     the video bonus question at the end of the show was about the Okefenokee Swamp.(the couple answered the question correctly and doubled their money)
  • When the online game site Pogo.com
    Pogo.com
    Pogo.com is a gaming website that offers a variety of free casual games, from card and board games to puzzle, sports, and word games. It is owned by Electronic Arts....

     started they had a table in the roulette section named Okefenokee Swamp. When EA bought the site the table name was changed.
  • On the 1999 Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Exam (Written and provided by The College Board), the essay prompt for rhetorical analysis consisted of two passages about Okefenokee Swamp.

External links