Okefenokee Swamp | Georgia's Physical Features

We're standing here in the Okefenokee Swamp, which takes up 700 square miles here in south

Georgia, which is the largest fresh water swamp in North America.

It takes up three Georgia counties.

That's Charlton, Ware, and Clinch.

The earliest known human inhabitants of the Okefenokee Swamp were the early archaic Native


That was around 2000 BC.

After that, the Seminole moved in here.

They were famous for fighting three different wars in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Then in the early 1800s, English-speaking families moved into the area.

In 1901, the Hebard Cypress Company moved into the Okefenokee Swamp to log all of the

valuable timber, mostly cypress trees.

They logged it out via railroad.

They actually had several railroad lines running in and out of the swamp.

And actually logged over 500 million work feet of lumber.

They were up in here until 1937.

Now while they were in here, they actually established an entire logging town out

on Billy's Island.

And this town had anything any modern town should have.

It had a doctor's office, a dentist office, a bakery, and the largest building on the

island and the only climate-controlled building was the movie theater.

Around 1937, as the Hebard Cypress Company was leaving, President Roosevelt took special

interest in the Okefenokee Swamp.

He was getting ready to establish it as a national wildlife refuge.

He sent the CCC, which was the Civilian Conservation Core, into the Okefenokee to remove all evidence

of human existence.

That includes all the railroads, towns, and logging equipment.

After the CCC concluded their activities, Roosevelt in 1942 establishes it as a national

wildlife refuge.

And it existed as a national wildlife refuge until 1954, and that's when the Georgia Department

of Natural Resources established Stephen Foster State Park, where we're standing

right now, to allow even more publish access to the area.

When visiting the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge here at Stephen C. Foster, you'll be

able to see all types of wildlife and plant life, including cypress trees, tupelo trees,

ty ty and wax myrtle.

You'll also be able to see deer, alligator, black bear, turkey, and even the occasional