Okefenokee Alligator Farm?

Before becoming protected in the 1960’s, alligators were hunted to near extinction for their skins. The following is a headline from an 1875 newspaper. Thankfully the “Okefenokee Alligator Farm” vision never became a reality, for there probably would have been only a lot of “harvesting” and very little management. The Galveston News thinks alligator skinsContinue reading “Okefenokee Alligator Farm?”

Okefenokee Farewell

Today my daughter Amanda turns eighteen. Each trip with her to the Okefenokee has been a special time that I will always cherish. The following is an excerpt from my journal on the last day of our 2017 excursion… As if signaling our departure from the swamp, a group of Ibises flew overhead, heading offContinue reading “Okefenokee Farewell”

When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns

Hot summers… extended periods of drought… plenty of exposed organic peat material… and a random but well-placed lightning strike; all these ingredients cook up to make large fires. South Georgia, and especially the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, face this imminent threat every year. Often, hundreds upon hundreds of square miles burn for several days atContinue reading “When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns”

Song of the Okefenokee

An excerpt from Suwannee River, Strange Green Land by Cecile Hulse Matschat, 1938.  “In the evening, or after a warm rain, the frog orchestra turns out in full force. Each species has its own peculiar song and pitch; and much of the really primitive folk music of Okefenokee is borrowed from its frogs and toads. The swampersContinue reading “Song of the Okefenokee”

Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries

For many years now, our first gesture upon arriving in the Okefenokee Swamp is to say ‘hello’ to “Sophie”, the resident alligator that inhabits the boat bay at the Stephen C Foster campground. But in 2021, our joy at seeing her quickly turned to sadness, and a bit of outrage. Sophie had suffered a horribleContinue reading “Alligator Fishing Tackle Injuries”

Okefenokee Watersnake Fight

I was paddling up the beautiful Suwannee, a blackwater river that is born within, and meanders throughout, the Okefenokee Swamp. Being overcast and cool, it was slow day for reptiles… as slow as the current that carried my canoe along. But on a sudden, I had that feeling. Birders know that feeling… a sense thatContinue reading “Okefenokee Watersnake Fight”

Okefenokee Gold Mine

The Okefenokee continues to make the news as conservationists sound the alarm against a proposal from Twin Pines Minerals to mine thousands of acres alongside the National Wildlife Refuge. This mining operation isn’t a modern day gold rush, but a search for titanium dioxide. Even so, there is Gold in the Okefenokee! A different sortContinue reading “Okefenokee Gold Mine”

Rena Ann Peck: Save the Okefenokee Swamp

Editorial published in the Calhoun Times on November 26, 2020 by Rena Peck: Since 2018 when Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, first proposed mining for titanium along Trail Ridge adjacent to the Okefenokee Swamp, advocates from across the nation called on science to inform federal and state decisions about the proposal.   Of course, mining nextContinue reading “Rena Ann Peck: Save the Okefenokee Swamp”

Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park

When I visit the Okefenokee Swamp, I expect to see alligators. So when I find alligators in a small, local park, it is a special treat… I recently went on a short trip to attend a pioneer pastor’s conference in North Carolina. Even though we spent most of our weekend driving, my wife and IContinue reading “Outside the Okefenokee: Greenfield Lake Park”

Gator! Danger Here!

​In 1875, The Atlanta Constitution published the dramatic headline: “We now announce to our readers, and the people of Georgia, that we are fitting up an expedition for a complete and thorough exploration of Okefinokee. The full details of the plan and expedition will be published soon – if they come out alive.” Over the next months,Continue reading “Gator! Danger Here!”