Southern Moons

The Okefenokee is a swamp on the Georgia/Florida border. That means it’s a forest standing in water, interspersed with some open waters connected by man-made canals. The Okefenokee Swamp Park people describe it thusly:

Headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, Okefenokee is a National Wildlife Refuge which covers nearly a half million acres.

Okefenokee Swamp Park is a convenient point of entry and a magnificent show-window for the “Land of the Trembling Earth.”

There are actually five entry points to the Refuge, three main ones on the North, East and West. The Park is at the north end, just eight miles south of Waycross and that’s where this coming weekend, April 16 & 17, they’ll have extended hours and a train ride to see the swamp under a full moon at 9:00 PM The moon is actually scheduled to rise at 7:44 PM, so slightly after the Refuge access on the east side, near Folkston, closes at 7:30, but the entry fee on the East side is a lot less pricey ($5 per private vehicle) and there’s a nice boardwalk to a spectacular overlook tower.
As far as I know, the fires are now out. In addition to “trembling earth” (floating islands of vegetation) the refuge is subject to frequent fires, often from lightning strikes, which some of the pines actually depend on to open their cones and disperse their seed. The weather forecast for this weekend is mostly clear with temps in the 70s. So, perfect.
As the Fish and Wildlife Service says:

There are many ways to explore the Okefenokee. Guided boat tours take visitors through cypress forests, historic canals and open prairies. Water trails and platforms allow people to canoe for the day or stay overnight deep within the 354,000 acre wilderness. Winding boardwalks and trails lead through unique habitats to observation towers and viewing platforms. Opportunities for nature photography, hunting and fishing are readily available. One can even drive a car or ride a bike to a restored homestead to discover how “swampers” once made their home here.

If you’re so inclined, you can help celebrate Earth Day on Saturday.

Celebrate Earth Day
April 16, 8am-2pm
Litter Pickup 8am – 10am
Activities 10am – 2pm
For More Information Call 912-496-7836
Solar Car Qualifier and race will occur, April 16. Meet at the East Entrance at 9:30 am.


Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."