Okefenokee Swamp: A Great Rain Basin

Minnie's Lake Okefenokee Swamp
Okefenokee Swamp canoe paddling trek up to Minnie’s Lake; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 5, 2017 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Which slow-moving, murky, southern river is it that feeds the Okefenokee Swamp? How many creeks and spring must there be to keep this nearly 400,000 acres of land inundated with water? The answer: none! Not only do no rivers flow into the Okefenokee, but two major rivers flow out of the swamp: The Suwannee River and the St. Mary’s River.

The immersed prairies and cypress forests of the Okefenokee are filled primarily by rainwater. The authors of the Falcon Guide to Paddling the Okefenokee aptly describe it as “an immense catch basin that collects rainwater.” Approximately 80% of these waters are lost through evaporation, while the remainder primarily flows out of the Okefenokee via the Suwannee River. The persistent waters of the swamp are then recharged by rainstorms each winter.


  • O’Neill, D., Dominque, E. A., & Domingue, E. . Paddling Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Falcon, 1998.

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