Concentrations of Gators

From my October 2022 Okefenokee Journal…

American Alligator laying on bank of Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp at sunset in the fall. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia, USA. October 25, 2022. ©

Seeing the extremely low waters of the Suwannee River Sill, I began to fear this trip might not be as productive as I had hoped. I took four days off work to make this five-day visit. But would I even be able to get my canoe through the low water to the areas I had hoped to explore? But, as usual, the Okefenokee never disappoints.

Low waters caused by drought in the Okefenokee might make paddling difficult and some areas inaccessible, but it isn’t totally a bad thing. When water levels are higher, the critters can spread out over the Refuge’s 400,000 acres. But as the swamp dries out, the alligators and other critters tend to congregate in the deeper areas such as the lakes and channels that still contain water.

Being a manmade channel controlled by a dam, the Suwannee River Sill on the western side of the swamp typically maintains a decent level of water, even during a drought. And when the water levels are low, the alligators all become visible. Shallow waters and a warm, fall afternoon means a high concentration of big gators along the banks of The Sill! I certainly wasn’t disappointed on this fall trip. There are enough large alligators along the Suwanee River Sill Recreation Area to rival any Florida destination.

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