Okefenokee West Entry Road

A Wild Turkey hen seen foraging along Highway 177 between Fargo, Georgia and the Stephen C Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife photography on January 21, 2021. ©williamwisephoto.com

No matter how many trips I make to the Okefenokee, my excitement always builds exponentially as I near the refuge border. It is a twenty mile drive from Fargo, Georgia on the western edge of the Okefenokee until you reach the dead-end within the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. This long stretch of Highway 177 can seem quite boring if all you notice are the telephone-pole-straight pines that seem to go on endlessly to your right, left, forward and behind. The tendency can be to “gun it” and get to the swamp more quickly.

A White tailed Deer doe seen foraging along Highway 177 between Fargo, Georgia and the Stephen C Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife photography on January 21, 2021. ©williamwisephoto.com

But if you slow down and take your time, you just might find some critters along this drive (and not splat them into roadkill as well). White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey often emerge from the dense Saw Palmetto to forage on the roadside grasses. In January 2021, I spotted an American Black Bear crossing the road far ahead, but alas, no photograph. From spring to fall, Highway 177 is a great stretch for “herping”, as the snakes like to crawl out onto the warm pavement in the evenings and overnight


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 www.williamwisephoto.com 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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