Okefenokee’s Prophecy of Preservation

Flooded swamp prairie with dead cypress trees and burned stumps from wildlfire. Okefenokee Swamp Park National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, USA. Stephen C Foster State Park boardwalk. March 11, 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

Thankfully, Hamp Mizell’s words in this passage from the 1926 book, History of the Okefenokee Swamp, were prophetic when he wrote of the restoration of the Okefenokee. The entire swamp was stripped of the timber in the early 1900’s but in 1937 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Okefenokee as “a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.” Mizell’s prophetic utterance reads:

“​The timber has all about been cut from this great swamp, and within a few more months this busy island will again, no doubt, slip back to the primitive; the scream of the locomotive will again be supplanted by the scream of the panther and the bobcat; the wild deer will again roam over this spot as of yore; the alligators will again climb up on the sand banks to lay quietly and undisturbed in the warm sunlight; the turtle will come to deposit its eggs in the spring, and the ever watchful black bear will be on the trail of the turtle eggs, and all that will remain will be the wreck and ruin left in the slaughter of the primeval forest.”

  • McQueen, A.S. and Hamp Mizell. History of the Okefenokee Swamp. 1926. Reprinted by Charlton County Historical Society, Georgia

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