The Okefenokee Partnership enhances appreciation for the Okefenokee Swamp through education and marketing, increasing visitation, and growing the economic impact in South Georgia through ecotourism. Working collaboratively to promote and market the valuable ecotourism opportunities in the Okefenokee Swamp will allow the Okefenokee Swamp to serve as a major economic driver in these communities by bringing in additional visitors that stay, play, and eat in the Okefenokee region. The Okefenokee Partnership comprised the three entities that manage the visitor entrances to the Okefenokee Swamp, and the neighboring gateway communities.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge)
Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It drives everything on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters managed within the Refuge System, from the purposes for which a national wildlife refuge is established to the recreational activities offered to the resource management tools used. Using conservation best practices, the Refuge System manages Service lands and waters to help ensure the survival of native wildlife species. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide “refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.” The refuge provides habitat for threatened and endangered species, such as red-cockaded woodpeckers, wood storks, eastern indigo snakes, and flatwoods salamanders.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources – State Parks and Historic Sites (Stephen C. Foster State Park)
This remote state park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp—one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000 acre refuge. Stargazers will appreciate the particularly dark skies.
Okefenokee Swamp Park, Inc (Okefenokee Swamp Park and Adventures), 501(c)3 Private Partner
The Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) opened its doors to the world at the northern entrance into the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge almost 75 years ago and has welcomed millions of visitors since that time. Located mostly in Dixon Memorial State Forest south of Waycross, Georgia, the Okefenokee Swamp Park, is known for lily-decked water trails, with their reflective waters mirroring the overhanging beauty which lead to all points in this vast wilderness of islands, lakes, jungles, forest and prairies. The Okefenokee Swamp Park is a rare experience for every member of the family. Extravagantly beautiful, the swamp, nearly a half million acres, carries you back into the world’s prehistory. Boat tours, available to book online or in-person, on original Indian waterways, wilderness walkways, Pioneer Island and native animals in their own habitat, all combine to weave a spell of pioneer American life. The Okefenokee Swamp Park is a non-profit operating under a long-term lease and is not supported by federal or state funds.
As a partner with Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Services, Okefenokee Adventures offers memorable and rewarding Okefenokee experiences. The Okefenokee offers a lot to do, see, and experience! You can arrange for a guided interpretive tour with one of our professional guides. You can explore the swamp’s waterways on your own by canoe, kayak or boat. You can drive or bike the Swamp Island Drive, and you can relax on the porch of the historic Chesser Homestead on Chesser Island. Hike trails through pines and hardwoods and swamp. Let our Refuge Visitor Center make learning about the Okefenokee fun. As the official concession partner for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Okefenokee Adventures also offers signature wilderness camping experiences with trained naturalists and guides to experience a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind immersion into the great Okefenokee Swamp.
“…In a swamp, as in meditation, you begin to glimpse how elusive, how inherently insubstantial, how fleeting our thoughts are, our identities. There is magic in this moist world, in how the mind lets go, slips into sleepy water, circles and nuzzles the banks of palmetto and wild iris, how it seeps across dreams, smears them into the upright world, rots the wood of treasure chests, welcomes the body home. ”
~ Barbara Hurd, Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs & Human Imagination
Photos by: Chris Funk