photo by Lyndi & Jason

Inhabited by native Americans since 2500 B.C., Okefenokee swamp is one of the oldest and best preserved freshwater areas in America. Derived from an Indian word, Okefenokee means 'The Land of Trembling earth'. The Okefenokee Swamp is located in Florida, in Ware, Charlton, and Clinch Counties, Georgia and Baker County.

To better preserve this amazing natural ecosystem, about 80% (out of aprox. 700 square miles) has been declared national wildlife refuge by Executive Order in 1936, protecting and saving endangered species, and becoming the largest Wildlife Refugees in the eastern United States.

Tee swamp has dark tea colored waters from the dissolved peat and vegetation. Up to 15 feet thick peat sediments cover the bottom of the saucer-shaped bog developed in a depression that was once part of the ocean floor. Because of the very unstable grounds that are continuously changing the surroundings, native Americans called the a "Okefenokee" meaning "Land of the Trembling Earth".

Although wildly creepy, this magical place is made out of many lakes and islands, covered with a various mix of vegetation and stuffed with all the wildlife you can imagine.

While nature can continue its normal circuit, any human intervention could imbalance the complex process. For example, in 1891, Suwanee Canal Company purchased 238,120 acres of the bog for industrial use - rice, sugar cane and cotton plantation. After this failed, the company started cutting down large areas of the forest, for industrial purposes. In only three years, the Suwanne Canal was dug 11.5 miles into the swamp. In 1960, the water level raised so high that the fires that cleared out ground vegetation completing the cycle were made impossible, therefore the vegetation increased alarmingly.

This piece of land is wild and beautiful, but human touch could have put it at risk for ever.

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Lyndi & Jason, Christine

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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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