One thing that is pleasantly noticeable in the clean and pristine wilderness of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the absence of pollution. Very little light pollution, noise pollution and ‘people pollution’ (trash) is a welcome relief.
Until I attempted recording bird calls, I had no realization of how much noise surrounds us in every day life. Even in my “quiet” subdivision, I had a hard time getting a clean bird recording without the noise of leaf blower, barking dog or cars off in the distance. But it isn’t that way in the Okefenokee Swamp! Except for the occasional airplane that passes far overhead, the noise of man’s ingenuity is mostly absent. A small splash echoes loudly across the still, dark waters at night.
Until I got a permit to stay overnight at Big Water shelter, I had never really seen how bright stars could shine. Without bright parking lots, shopping centers and cities shining nearby, the stars shine brighter in the Okefenokee Swamp. Those distant points of light, which are usually few and far between from an urban viewing point, were so many – and so dazzling – that even a cellphone camera could record them.
And what a joy to paddle for miles and miles and never see a cigarette butt, used lottery ticket, or a plastic grocery bag. On my Saturday morning long runs through my home town, it seems the entire route is littered with trash – like a grotesque bread crumb trail leading to “civilization.” Thankfully, it isn’t that way in the pristine Okefenokee… and let’s keep it that way! Remember to pack out everything you bring in.
- iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/52503625