The Monsters of The Sill

A travel journal from our canoeing up The Sill Recreation Area in the Okefenokee Swamp on March 5, 2017:

Huge American Alligator laying on the canal bank the The Sill Recreation Area, probably one of the biggest I’ve seen in the Okefenokee. March 5, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Sunday, 12:45 PM – ​Compared to the challenging navigation through The Narrows (brown trail), the paddling through Mixon’s Hammock became much easier. The strong current caused by the low water levels carried us quickly into the area named “The Sill.”

The Suwannee River Sill Recreation Area is a man-made canal built in 1960 with dams to control the water levels. The purpose was to maintain water levels during drought and thereby reduce the chance of wildfires. However, the project failed in that goal, for it had no real effect on the water levels throughout the swamp. However, The Sill is a popular recreation area, primarily for fishing.

American Alligator basking along the shore of The Sill Recreation Area; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Because the man-made canal was wide and straight, cutting through a treeless prairie, it was also somewhat less interesting. However, on The Sill, we saw some of the largest alligators we had seen in the entire swamp.

All along the canal, the shores were occupied by “The Monsters of The Sill.” The boring Sill had redeemed itself by presenting us with the spectacle of some really big gators; a few of which made dramatic, tidal-wave producing dives into the water as we passed by.

American Alligators diving from the shore into the canal. The Sill Recreation Area; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017. ©

iNaturalist observations:

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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