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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Audio - Red Hair)                            
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"Swamp Critters" Bluegrass Band.  
                                                  If the background music drives you batty - you can always turn it down. - or off!

Q:   Where do I go and how do I get into the swamp to see it?
There are three 'major' entrances. The East Entrance, the North Entrance, and the West Entrance.
The East Entrance is roughly 12 miles south of Folkston, GA., and about 4.5 miles down a road running to the west, off of Hwy 121, . There is a large sign on 121 ... you can't miss it.
Also, the east entrance is the  main Administration site for The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It has concession facilities offering guided tours, boat, motor, bicycle and canoe rental, souvenirs, fishing and camping supplies. They do not have a public campground. (Covered later.) They have a superb Visitors center.  Their 'museum quality' displays of swamp flora and fauna are outstanding. It alone is worth the trip. One of their biggest attractions  was "Ole George," a huge ole granddaddy 'gator of submarine proportions. He would daily lay on the bank of the canal immediately behind the visitor center and pay no attention to those gawking at him. Not long ago George apparently died of old age. (I'm told) They also have a complete old country homestead nearby which belonged to the Chesser family. This home is complete and fully furnished right down to the old time family portraits. The kitchen still has the fancy (expensive in those days) old wood stove, dishes, churns, etc. exactly as it was 50 years ago. There is a volunteer Ranger on duty who conducts regular tours explaining the era and history of the family. You will learn more about this beautiful swamp here than any of the other entrances. Huge excellent parking facilities, and Rangers who are helpful in every way.
The North Entrance - (Tours though not really a swamp entrance point) Is near Waycross. This is called Okefenokee Swamp Park. It is privately owned by a non-profit organization. (??)   It too has a lot of very interesting tourist attractions, tours, a huge gift shop and trails. Here are also several complete houses, lived in many years ago by the 'swamp folk'.  They have brought these old homes out of the swamp and rebuilt them exactly as they were 50 or so years ago. They are on a small spit of land surrounded by water with humongous live 'gators adorning the waters edge. For a small fee you can tour this 'village' or walk the garden trails they have built specifically for you to enjoy and see what the swamp is like. Huge parking facilities.
The West Entrance - Is 17 miles east of Fargo GA. At the dead-end of Hwy 177.  It is Stephen Foster State Park and is operated by the state of Georgia. It has a superb well kept, wooded campground with an unbelievable amount of   'in camp' wildlife, children's playground, boarded wildlife walks, a super Marina, clean modern restrooms with cloths washing facilities, cabins, boats, w/10HP motors, canoe rentals, and a  food & gift shop. Also, they carry ice, and a limited supply of snack food and drinks. There is a  more detailed description of this entrance further on in this info.   Brochures and maps of the Swamp can be had by contacting the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Rt. 2  Box 3330,  Folkston, GA.  31537  --  or -  calling 912-496-7366

       Q:   Is canoeing in the Okefenokee really safe?  I wouldn't want to get lost.

        A:   You bet. Very safe. You are given a map, the canoe trails are well marked and you are warned by signs when you are entering an area that is closed. Closed areas are marked "off limits" ... you are not allowed to enter. As a rule, on day trips you will have lots of canoe company. Especially at the western entrance. On the trail crossing the swamp you will not. Those trails are by permit only and the amount of permit holders are limited. Many people come here to experience this great outdoor adventure. Summertime the swamp usually has lots of canoers. You are required to 'log out' when you go in - and back in when returning.

           IF you have more questions about this park I'll try to answer them. However,  I recommend you call them direct.  The Stephen Foster State Park office phone number at the campground is - 912-637-5274  The phone is generally answered by Barbara, Marilyn, Kathy or Amy. If you wish information on permits, call 912-496-3331. You need to call  between 7: a.m. and 10: a.m. EST only. I'm told this might possibly change in the future but for now, adhere to these times.

I have added a link to the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service ... on my "Link Page."  Clicking on their map will take you to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge website for more information.  



                                                                                                                                                                I hope you have a super trip.

                                                                                                                                                    Bill Logan
Be sure to check out the "Book Page" on this website to see what the Book contains.

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