Okefenokee – For the Birds!

Juvenile White Ibis foraging in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 12, 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

When the Okefenokee’s time for preservation had finally come, varying governmental departments and environmental groups had diverse visions for the swamp’s future use. Some wanted a National Park, like Yellowstone or Yosemite, to “for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” Others wanted a National Wilderness Area where “human activities are restricted to scientific study and non-mechanized recreation.” Management philosphies rocked back-and-forth between an escape for the people, and a sanctuary for the wild.

But in the end, the Okefenokee was designated “for the birds”! Executive Order 7593 signed on March 30, 1937 declared the Okefenokee a National Wildlife Refuge to be “reserved and set apart… as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.”

While there are several miles of beautiful waterways that are maintained for ecotourism, the vast majority of the 400,000+ acres is uncrossed by canoe trails, and untouched by recreation and hunting, leaving thousands upon thousands of acres solely for the birds and wildlife. Truly, the Okefenokee is for the birds!


Source: Constantino G and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. 2006. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: Comprehensive Conservation Plan (https://ecos.fws.gov/ServCat/DownloadFile/1508)

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30501973

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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