The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a "refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife". The Okefenokee is like no other place on earth, where natural beauty and wilderness prevail. The vision for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and enhance wildlife and its habitat, ensure integrity of the ecological system, and embrace the grandeur, mystery, and cultural heritage that lead to an enrichment of the human spirit. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge conserves the unique qualities of the Okefenokee Swamp for future generations to enjoy. The swamp is considered the headwaters of the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers. Habitats provide for threatened and endangered species, such as red-cockaded woodpecker, wood storks, indigo snakes, and a wide variety of other wildlife species. It is world renowned for its amphibian populations that are bio-indicators of global health. More than 600 plant species have been identified on refuge lands. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has 353,981 acres of National Wilderness Area within the refuge boundaries. In addition, the refuge is a Wetland of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention
Fantastic walk on a boardwalk out into the swamps. Start your hike at the Chesser Homestead and take in what it was like to live near the swamps. From there you can take a .4 mile walk to the boardwalk hike. (We startled a flock of turkeys on this trail). The boardwalk is about .9 miles long and ends at an observation tower overlooking a lake. During our visit we saw eight baby alligators sunning themselves along the boardwalk and two huge ones at the lake. This is a fantastic walk and since it was November we were the only people wandering around the area.
Fantastic! Just did a day kayaking trip (didn't camp overnight). The website says to "avoid summer" and we decided to disregard this advice. Was worried about heat/mugginess and mosquitoes, but to our surprise it was quite pleasant! Not a single mosquito. I recommend getting on the water prior to sunrise if going this time of the year (mid-August) so it's still relatively cool.
Took a 2 night, 3-day paddling trip in February. Despite the cold and rain, a gorgeous place! The FWS does a good job of marking the trails and the camping platforms are in great shape. The information on the FWS website is out of date though. Many trips are available and many of the day sites are now used as camping platforms.