Trees So Lofty

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “On the West side it was bordered round with low marshes, and invested with a swamp of Cypress, the trees so lofty, as to preclude the sight of the high-land forests, beyond them; and these trees, having flat tops, and all of equal height, seemed to be aContinue reading “Trees So Lofty”

Cypress Knee Bend

Passing north beyond Minnie’s Lake along the Suwannee River Middle Fork trail, the kayak channel constricts through a more mature Cypress forest. Here the dense, towering trees cast their shadows and darken the swamp below. One gets a feel for what it was like throughout the entire Okefenokee before the saws and lumber mills ofContinue reading “Cypress Knee Bend”

Okefenokee’s Prophecy of Preservation

Thankfully, Hamp Mizell’s words in this passage from the 1926 book, History of the Okefenokee Swamp, were prophetic when he wrote of the restoration of the Okefenokee. The entire swamp was stripped of the timber in the early 1900’s but in 1937 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Okefenokee as “a refuge and breeding groundContinue reading “Okefenokee’s Prophecy of Preservation”

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”

The Long Moss

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter III: “The long moss, so called, is a singular and surprising vegetable production: it grows from the limbs and twigs of all trees in these southern regions, from N. lat. 35 down as far as 28, and I believe every where within the tropics. Wherever it fixes itself,Continue reading “The Long Moss”

New Hope from a Young Cypress

There is hope in seeing a young Okefenokee Cypress taking root and reaching toward the sky. The naturalists of old write of towering cypress – some as high as 120 feet – standing guard for centuries in the Okefenokee. But all that changed in the early 20th century. All were laid low. The height, girth,Continue reading “New Hope from a Young Cypress”

Okefenokee Primeval Prairies

An excerpt from Francis Harper’s 1913 paper “A Biological Reconnaissance of the Okefinokee Swamp”, published in The Auk, the official publication of the American Ornithological Society: “In the eastern United States few, if any, areas of equal extent afford such exceptional opportunities for the study of animal life in a primeval state as does Okefinokee Swamp.  The ‘prairies’Continue reading “Okefenokee Primeval Prairies”

Okefenokee Beauty and Charm

From the broad, sweeping bird’s-eye-view, down to the smallest detail of living organism, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is full of beauty and charm. Perhaps alligators and snakes are the first thing conjured in the mind upon hearing the word “swamp”, but peace, solitude and fascination come to my thoughts. My first visits to theContinue reading “Okefenokee Beauty and Charm”

Gator, Boys!

This riveting story was published in 1875 in The Savannah Morning News from the journal of the Okefenokee exploration party: “As alligators are rather tardy in their movements, it is an accomplished trick with them to lay quietly for the passing little fish, or sometimes for a full-grown cow. When we thought of our carcassContinue reading “Gator, Boys!”

Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem

Excerpt from the 1926 History of the Okefenokee Swamp by AS McQueen and Hamp Mizell: “It is rather hard to determine how these so-called “prairies” of the Okefenokee came by this name. These prairies are better described as marshes, for they are covered by numerous water plants, such as the water lily, maiden cane, saw-grass, etc. OneContinue reading “Okefenokee Prairie Ecosystem”