Okefenokee

National Wildlife Refuge - Georgia

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is located in Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties of Georgia, and Baker County in Florida. The refuge is administered from offices in Folkston, Georgia. It protects a majority of Okefenokee Swamp.

maps

Statewide Bike Map of Georgia. Published by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).Georgia State - Georgia Bike Map

Statewide Bike Map of Georgia. Published by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

brochures

Brochure for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Brochure

Brochure for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Map of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Map

Map of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Canoe Guide for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Canoe Guide

Canoe Guide for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Swamp Island Drive at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Swamp Island Drive

Swamp Island Drive at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles

Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Birds at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Birds

Birds at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Red-cockaded Woodpeckers

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Wilderness of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Okefenokee - Wilderness

Wilderness of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Georgia. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Okefenokee NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/okefenokee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okefenokee_National_Wildlife_Refuge The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is located in Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties of Georgia, and Baker County in Florida. The refuge is administered from offices in Folkston, Georgia. It protects a majority of Okefenokee Swamp.
Regulations Permitted Wildlife Watching, Photography, Bicycling, and Hiking Enjoy these activities in areas open to public use and along designated trails only. Fishing - Permitted year-round in designated areas in accordance with Georgia state fishing laws. Trot lines and the use of live fish as bait are prohibited. Hunting - Refuge-specific regulations and seasons apply. Boating - Boat ramps available at the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area, Stephen C. Foster State Park, Kingfisher Landing, and the Suwannee River Sill. All watercraft are authorized on designated trails only. Outboards are limited to 10 HP or less. Check trail conditions before going on water trails. Sign in/sign out is required at all boat launches, except the Suwannee River Sill. Camping - Allowed with a permit at designated overnight canoe campsites and at designated areas in Stephen C. Foster State Park. Campfires - Permitted at designated areas in Stephen C. Foster State Park and at campsites on Floyds Island, Mixons Hammock, and Canal Run. Campfires may be prohibited during dry periods. Firewood must be purchased onsite. Pets - Not permitted on boardwalks, inside buildings, or in boats. Pets must be restrained on a ten-foot or shorter leash. Always clean up after your pet. Prohibited Swimming and Paddleboarding - Prohibited in refuge waters for public safety, due to the presence of alligators. Disturbing or collecting plants and/or animals or cultural artifacts. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2700 Suwannee Canal Road Folkston, GA 31537 http://www.fws.gov/refuge/okefenokee U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1 800/344 WILD http://www.fws.gov July 2020 Hours Mar 1 - Oct 31: ½ hour before sunrise to 7:30 pm Nov 1 - Feb 28: ½ hour before sunrise to 5:30 pm All day-use boats must be off the water 90 minutes before refuge closes. Swamp Island Drive: closes 30 minutes before refuge closes. Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center: hours vary seasonally. Call 912/496 7836 for information. Kingfisher Landing: located off US 1, this remote entrance has a boat launch with access to the Green and Red Trails. Overnight parking with Wilderness Camping Permit ONLY. No facilities. https://www.facebook.com/ okefenokeewildliferefuge Stephen C. Foster State Park (West Entrance) Located 17 miles north of Fargo, on GA Highway 177. Boardwalks, boating trails, fishing, guided boat tours, motorboat and canoe rentals, camping and more. Entrance fee required. Refuge daily, America the Beautiful, or GA Park Pass honored. Call 912/637 5274 for information, or 1-800/864 7275 for reservations or www.gastateparks.org. Suwannee River Sill: located off GA Highway 177 before entering Stephen C. Foster State Park. A driving road, boat ramp, and fishing opportunities located here. Day-use only. Feeding or harassing wildlife Stay at least 20 feet (six meters) from alligators. Never feed or harass wild animals. Feeding animals causes them to lose their fear of humans and may make them aggressive. Alcohol - All state, federal, and county laws regarding alcohol consumption are strictly enforced. Recreational drone (UAS) use is prohibited. Entrances Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (Main Entrance) The main entrance, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is located 11 miles southwest of Folkston, GA off Highway 121/23. Visitor opportunities include Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center, Swamp Island Drive, Chesser Island Homestead, boat ramp access to water trails. Boat tours, rentals, and a cafe are available at Okefenokee Adventures. Entrance fee required; daily pass (good for seven days) and annual passes available. Rental space for parties and events available by reservation. Big Water Shelter, USFWS Okefenokee Swamp Park (North Entrance) This private, non-profit facility is located eight miles south of Waycross, GA off US 1. Guided boat tours, Okefenokee railroad, live animals exhibits and programs available. Admission fee required. Call 912/283 0583 or www.okeswamp.com Credit: USFWS/S. Heisey U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge The Discover Nature Wilderness app features information about the refuge’s 120mile water trail system. While pinpointing your exact location (even without cell phone service), this app is a great navigational tool for your next adventure to the Okefenokee. Overview Covering 630 square miles in southeast Georgia, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge encompasses nearly all of the world renowned Okefenokee Swamp. Alligators bask in the sun while flocks of white ibis, wood storks, and sandhill cranes forage in the shallow tea-colored water. The “Land of the Trembling Earth,” as the Native Americans called it, is an ever-changing landscape. From the open, wet prairies of the east side to the forested cypress swamps on the west, Okefenokee is a mosaic of habitats, plants, and wildlife. The pine islands and uplands surrounding the swamp are home to such species as the gopher tortoise, endangered red-cockaded wood
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Swamp Island Drive (7.2 miles) Visitor Center Hiking Trail Information Boardwalk Cafe Motorboats/Canoes Allowed Hiking Trail Canoe Only (Permit Required) Picnic Area Canoe Only (No Permit Required) # Boat Launch Waycross Non-wilderness Uplands Observation Tower Wilderness Uplands Cabins Non-Wilderness Marsh Campground Wilderness Marsh Trailer Sites Wilderness Wetlands Restrooms Other Refuge Wetlands 1 ! Cedar Hammock Shelter # Okefenokee Adventures (Concession) ( /1 Okefenokee Swamp 177 Park ! y # ! ( Mile Markers Historic Site Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Coffee Bay Shelter Suw Cedar Hammock Canoe Trail e anne l Cana Richard S Bolt Visitor Center # _ #! # # Sapling Prairie 1 ! # # # Overnight Shelter/Site # r Rak Dinner Pond # Double Lakes # # Kingfisher Landing # Carter Prairie # # e Ca y Us Tr noe ail Suwa nnee Cana l Day Use Cano e Trail # # Day Use Shelter Da # Maul Hammock # eR un # # Tat e ! @ ] ! ´ ! F ! 5 ! y ! Z ! A ! 2 ! 9 ! ¼ ! _ ! 3 ! 1 ! Refuge Boundary # Chesser Prairie # Hickory Hammock 1 ! # Big Water # # # # Redbird Prairie # 1 ! Cravens Hammock # # Floyds Prairie # # # ! Minnies 3 # Pine Island # # # Rowells Island # Billys Lake # # Suwannee River Sill Mixons Hammock 1 ! # # # # # 121 # _ Folkston! # # # # # # # # # 1 ! Canal Run # # # Chase Prairie # 1 Round ! # Honey Island Cedar Hammock Coffee Bay Honey Island Prairie # # 1 ! # Main Entrance Ridleys Island Homestead Trail # # Chesser Prairie Suwannee Canal Recreation Area # 94 ! ( Strange Island # Grand Prairie Blackjack Prairie ( ( / ! 94 Gannet Lake Blackjack Island Boardwalk Monkey Lake 1 ! # Z _! ! Chesser Island # A ! Coward Lake Prairie Georgia Florida / 0 0.5 1 2 3 4 St Marys River St Marys River 5 Miles 94 ! ( # # # Minnies Pine _ ! Suwannee Canal Recreation Area !! ] @! 5! _! ´! y! F Richard S Bolt Visitor Center Okefenokee Adventures (Concession) St George Upland Hiking Trails at Suwannee Canal Recreation Area Canal Diggers Trail Length: 0.7 mi, 1 km Loop Difficulty: Moderate Follow the remnants of the Suwannee Canal built in 1891 through pine uplands and cypress wetlands to look for signs of gopher tortoises and woodpeckers on this gently sloping up-and-down trail. Upland Discovery Trail Length: 0.25 mi, 0.5 km Loop Difficulty: Easy Walk though pines and palmettos to look for woodpeckers and warblers. Trees marked with a white band indicate roosting or nesting sites for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Deerstand Trail Length: 0.5 mi, 0.75 km One way Difficulty: Easy Enjoy a stroll through pine uplands from the Chesser Homestead to the Chesser Island Boardwalk parking area. # # Chesser Island Boardwalk Length: 0.75 mi, 1 km One way Difficulty: Easy Stroll the Chesser Island Boardwalk, made of a recycled wood-plastic composite, to the 40-foot Owls Roost Observation Tower for a birds-eye view of Seagrove Lake and Chesser Prairie. No Pets Allowed. # Island Billys Mixons # Hammock # 1 ! Suwannee # eN Th # River Sill y! ! F s# ow r r a # # Lake # Stephen # Z ! C Foster State Park !! @ 5! y! F 9! ! ¼! 2 Billys Island The Pocket / Phernetton Trail Chesser Homestead Trail Length: 0.7 mi, 1 km Loop Difficulty: Easy This trail loops through woods of oak, palmetto, and Spanish moss around the historic Chesser Island Homestead. # 3 Lake ! # Longleaf Pine Trail Upland Trails Sapp Prairie ! (2 Suwannee Canal Rd Chesser Island Number One Island Mitchell Island Swamp Island Drive Canal Diggers Trail Upland Discovery Trail # Fargo 441 121 # _ ! Suwannee River 441 ! ( Mizell Prairie # ! ] # # 3 ! e C anal Top # Bugaboo Island S uw an ne Refuge Headquarters Cane Pole Hiking Trail # # # ! ( ( / 1 ! Bluff Lake # Billys Island 177 Water Trails # Stephen C Foster State Park The Pocket Cooter Lake # # # # 1 ! Lake # # # Territory Prairie Floyds Island # # # # # Durdin Prairie # # Minnies Island Monkey Lake Shelter # 0 0.25 0.5 ! ( 177 1 Miles West Entrance Trails # # # Cane Pole Trail Length: 0.35 mi, 0.5 km One way Difficulty: Easy Traverse 100 feet of the Suwannee Canal into wetland prairie, serenaded by cricket and pig frogs to see a sandhill crane or red-shouldered hawk. Longleaf Pine Trail Length: 4.0 mi, 6.5 km One way Difficulty: Easy Explore the longest trail in the refuge as it winds back and forth across the entrance road while listening for frogs and birds that make their home in the wetlands along the trails’ edge. Phernetton Trail Length: 1.3 mi, 2 km Loop Difficulty: Easy Look for clusters of fox squirrel nests in the trees above you while viewing wildlife in the pine forest community. Ridleys Island Trail Length: 0.16 mi, 0.3 km One way Difficulty: Easy Explore and view the remnants of past wildfires along this short bo
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service NOTE: Kingfisher Landing is an unstaffed entrance. There are no facilities, except a composting toilet and kiosk. Okefenokee What must I bring? What should I bring? You MUST carry the following items, for your safety: ___ Coast Guard approved flotation device (PFD) for each person (children under 13 years of age must wear at all times) ___ Compass and map of refuge and trails ___ Flashlight ___ Cook stove and fuel if you choose to cook on your trip ___ Drinking water (4-6 quarts per person each day, depending on weather). Drinking/filtering swamp water is not recommended. ■ Keep trails free from litter. Visit the Leave No Trace website at https;//lnt.org/learn/7-principle. ■ Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms will comply with all provisions of state and local law. Firearms are prohibited in all buildings. Persons may only use (discharge) firearms in accordance with refuge regulations 50 CFR27.42 and specific refuge regulations in 50 CFR Part 32. ■ The collection and/or capturing of any plant and/or animal is strictly prohibited. Do not approach, feed, or harass wildlife. ■ Open fires (wood or charcoal) are permitted only at Canal Run, Cravens Hammock, Mixons Hammock, and Floyds Island. Restrictions may be put in place during high fire danger. Visit http://www. dontmovefirewood.org/; bringing in firewood from outside of the local region is prohibited to try to reduce the spread of invasive fungus and insects. ■ All state, federal and county laws regarding alcohol consumption are strictly enforced. How Difficult is Paddling in the Okefenokee? Consider the skill level of individuals in your party before choosing a trail! The swamp terrain is flat; there is little fast water and dry land is scarce. Your paddle will be used every inch of the way as you wind through cypress forests or cross open prairies exposed to the sun and wind. Paddling can be slow and strenuous on shallow and/or narrow trails. You may have to get out of your canoe and push across peat blowups, shallow water, or trees. You must plan ahead if you choose a trail that does not return to the same landing. Highway distance between landings: ■ Suwannee Canal Recreation Area to Kingfisher Landing: 25 miles ■ Suwannee Canal Recreation Area to Stephen C. Foster State Park: 75 miles ■ Kingfisher Landing to Stephen C. Foster State Park: 95 miles What if I am a guide or outfitter? If you charge any fees for trips into the Okefenokee, you are required to have a Commercial Guiding Special Use Permit. Permits are issued once annually, in the fall. For more information, call 912/496 3331. NOTE: Visit the refuge website (Wilderness Canoeing page) for a list of permitted day use and overnight guides. Do I need a special permit to cross the Suwannee Sill? You no longer need a permit to cross the Suwannee River Sill. Contact Stephen C. Foster State Park at 912/637 5274 if leaving a vehicle parked in their parking lot overnight. All overnight trips MUST park at the Stephen C. Foster State Park, not at the Sill parking area (day-use only). August 2017 ■ Children under 13 must wear Personal Flotation Device (PFD). All individuals on the water must have a PFD with them. ■ All licenses, permits, equipment, and effects, including vehicles and canoes are subject to inspection by state and federal officers. You SHOULD carry the following items: ___ Extra flashlights and batteries ___ Trash bags ___ Portable toilet with disposable bags ___ Rope for pulling canoe ___ First Aid Kit ___ Food (plus enough for one extra day) ___ Foul weather gear ___ Sleeping bag or blanket ___ Insect repellant ___ Duct tape for emergency repairs ___ Spare paddle ___ Waterproof bags ___ Toilet paper ___ Free-standing tent ___ Cord to tie down tent ___ Bailer ___ Sun protection (sunscreen, wide brim hat, light-colored long sleeve shirt, and pants) Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2700 Suwannee Canal Road Folkston, Georgia 31537 912/496 7836 http://www.fws.gov/refuge/okefenokee ■ Pets, swimming, motorized vessels, and fires (except in designated areas) are prohibited. National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Canoe Guide Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge – Wilderness Canoe Trails A trip into the Okefenokee is an experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Alligators glide through the dark water stained with tannic acid. Herons and egrets wade through tall grasses and water lilies. Bears meander through hammocks and islands. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for these and other animals – over 400,000 acres of wet prairies, cypress forests, interior islands, and pine uplands. Most of the refuge is a nationally designated Wilderness Area, which offers opportunities for solitude and rejuvenation. Seven overnight shelters and three islands are available for camping in the swamp with a permit. There are also endless possibilities for day trips into the Okefenokee Swamp through several different entran
7. The low growing, fan shaped, Saw Palmetto is common in the Southeastern United States. Seen throughout the Swamp Island Drive, the plant provides foraging, nesting, and protective cover opportunities for over 100 species of wildlife. Small mammals may take cover underneath the dense leaves, while berries provide nutrition for raccoons, gopher tortoises, black bears, and various birds. 8. The federally threatened eastern indigo snake, although secretive, is important in the food web. At lengths up to 8.5 feet, it is North America’s longest snake. 9. The long, narrow ponds along the left side of the road are called borrow ditches where material for the road was dug. You could say it was “borrowed” and never returned. They are rich in aquatic animal and plant life. Keep a lookout for a variety of wildlife species, but you may also see pitcher plants, butterworts, and sundews along the drive, as well as bladderworts in the water. There are many varieties of carnivorous plants in the Okefenokee. 10. Imagine returning home from a day in town in 1860. As you crossed the small stretch of swamp that you see on either side of the road, you would know you were almost home. A slight rise brings you onto Chesser Island where the W.T. Chesser family settled in 1858. 11. Chesser Island Homestead was built by Tom and Iva Chesser in 1927. Although sugar cane was this pioneer family’s cash crop, they also hunted, kept livestock, tended beehives, and had a substantial garden. Turpentine, made from pine resin, also provided an income. Swamp settlers were a self -sufficient and industrious people. Walking among this homestead, you get a feel for what it was like as an early settler on the edge of the Okefenokee. 12. The Chesser Island Boardwalk is a 1.5 mile (round trip) hike that leads to a 360° view of Chesser Prairie and Seagrove Lake. While strolling along the elevated platform, visitors may encounter an assortment of wildlife and plants, and will see evidence of the 2011 Honey Prairie Fire. Wildfires are a natural occurrence in the swamp, and actually benefit the swamp and the wildlife that live here. Visitors can take a rest at 3 covered shelters before heading up the 40-foot Owl’s Roost Tower. Winter 2020 Photo: Jay Blanton U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Swamp Island Drive 2700 Suwannee Canal Road Folkston, GA 31537 (912) 496-7836 www.fws.gov/refuge/okefenokee Facebook: @okefenokeewildliferefuge Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 560 refuges throughout the US. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Okefenokee Swamp as a refuge in 1937. The National Wildlife Refuge System administers a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. Swamp Island Drive is a little over 7-miles of driving, biking and/or walking loop. This guide corresponds to the numbered markers seen along the drive. Please keep the following in mind as you explore the drive and hiking trails: The best times for wildlife observation are around sunrise/sunset. Please be aware of seasonal refuge hours and be sure to be off the drive before closing. The speed limit is 15 MPH. Watch for wildlife, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Passengers must remain inside vehicles while moving. Prepare for biting flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Keep an eye out for fire ant mounds. Feeding wildlife is strictly prohibited. Do not throw items at or disturb wildlife. Never touch an alligator! Littering is prohibited. Put all trash and garbage in the receptacles provided. Thank you! 1. Canal Diggers Trail– 0.7 mile—The deep ditch you cross is the Suwannee Canal, dug in 1891 in an attempt to drain the swamp into the to the Atlantic Ocean. The goal was to reach the cypress forests for logging and to create farmland. After 4 years, the company abandoned the project due to lack of funds and unstable sand banks caving in the canal. 2. Once covering 90 million acres in the southeast, fewer than 3 million acres of longleaf pine remain. Prior to becoming a refuge, most of the longleaf had been harvested from this area and replaced with faster growing pine species. The refuge is working to restore longleaf using selective timber harvests to thin areas and planting longleaf seedlings. Prescribed burning is used in these pine forests to maintain the open understory. 3. A slight elevation change creates this hardwood hammock where oaks and other deciduous trees grow. Black bears and turkeys feed on acorns and other fruit here. 4. This pond is a popular area to observe alligators. Courtship begins in April and mating occurs in May. Eggs are laid in June or July and the young hatch two months later. The sex of the young is determined by the temperature/location of the egg in the nest; warmer temperatures produce male
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List The Okefenokee swamp is covered with cypress, blackgum, and bay forests scattered throughout a flooded prairie made of grasses, sedges, and various aquatic plants. The peripheral upland and the almost 70 islands within the swamp are forested with pine interspersed with hardwood hammocks. Lakes of varying sizes and depths, and floating sections of the peat bed, are also part of the Okefenokee terrain. People have left their mark on the swamp. A 12-mile long canal was dug into the eastern prairies in the 1890’s in a failed attempt to drain the swamp. During the early 1900’s large amounts of timber were removed, so that very few areas of virgin forest remain. In an attempt to reduce the potential for wildfires, a sill was built in the early 1960’s to control the water flowing out of the Okefenokee into the Suwanne River. The Okefenokee is a rainfall-dependent system, and when periods of drought occur, the area becomes susceptible to wildfire. A 20/30 year cycle of drought and fire has allowed the Okefenokee to exist as the unique wetland it is. These periods cause changes in the abundance of certain plants (more grasses growing in exposed areas,) the nesting success of certain wading birds (failure in extreme drought), and the location of some species of wildlife (fish migrate into deeper lakes and channels and are followed by predators.) With its varied habitats, the Okefenokee has become an area known for its abundance of plants and animals. There are over 620 species of plants growing in the swamp. Animals include 39 fish, 37 amphibian, 64 reptile, 234 bird, and 50 mammal species. Use the following list to help identify Okefenokee inhabitants. Mammals ___Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana pigna). Common on the swamp edge and the islands within the Swamp. A night prowler. “Pogo” is often seen by campers. ___Southern Short-Tailed Shrew (Barina carolinensis). A specimen was found on Floyds Island June 12, 1921. It kills its prey with poisonous saliva. ___Least Shrew (Cryptotus parva parva). Rarely seen but probably fairly common. Specimens have been found on several of the islands, on the swamp edge, and in the pine woods around the swamp. ___Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus australis). Generally distributed on the upland adjacent to the swamp and has been found on some of the islands within the swamp. ___Star-Nosed Mole (Condylura cristata). Apparently rare. Nose surrounded by finger like, fleshy projections. ___Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius austroriparius). Species of bat native to Southeast Georgia. ___Eastern Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus subflavus). A fairly common species in the area. One of the smallest eastern bats. ___Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus fuscus). An uncommon species in the area. The fastest known bat with speeds of 40 mph. ___Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis borealis). An uncommon species in the area. One of the few mammals in which males and females are different colors. ___Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus). A common bat of the Okefenokee which is found hanging in Spanish Moss during the day. ___Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus cinereus). This yellowish-brown bat flies high in the air late at night and will hang in trees when resting. It is the largest bat in the East and eats mostly moths. ___Northern Yellow Bat (Lasiurus intermedius floridanus). Apparently a rare species in the area. It likes to feed in groups. ___Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis). Once the most common bat in the swamp, it is now uncommon due to the decreases in manmade structures which are common nursery sites. It flies lower as the night progresses. ___Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat (Plecotus rafinesquii). A rather uncommon species in the area. They can hover like butterflies to pick off insects and fold their ears when at rest. ___Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis cynocephala). An uncommon species in this area. One of the highest flying bats. ___Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus mexicanus). This unusual “ground” mammal was first seen on the refuge in 1968. Since then it has become more numerous and is commonly seen along roadways and trails. ___Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustria palustris). Fairly common on the swamp edge. Frequently takes to water to escape enemies and often walks on its hind legs. Tail is gray underneath. *Indicates endangered or threatened Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2700 Suwannee Canal Road Folkston, GA 31537 912/496 7836 voice/TDD http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov 1 800/344 WILD July 2009 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Okefenokee NWR Amphibians, Fish, Mammals and Reptiles List Mammals continued ___Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus). Common around clearings and in the more sparse pine woods on the uplands surrounding the swamp and on some of the islands. Females have territories and males m
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Bird List How to use your checklist The bird checklist was designed to be informative and simple to use. The list is arranged in the order established by the American Ornithological Union. Symbols which appear in this checklist represent the following: Seasonal appearance Sp S F W Spring, March - May Summer, June - August Fall, September - November Winter, December - February Seasonal abundance a. abundant (a common species which is very numerous) c. common (certain to be seen in suitable habitat) u. uncommon (present but not certain to be seen) o. occasional (seen only a few times during a season) r. rare (seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years) * known or suspected to have nested on refuge or known to nest locally. This checklist includes 234 species of birds and is based on observations by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists. If you should find an unlisted species, please let us know at Refuge Headquarters. We appreciate your help in updating our records. SP F W r r r c o c o o c r c o c o c Herons, Egrets and Allies ___American Bittern ___Least Bittern* ___Great Blue Heron* ___Great Egret* ___Snowy Egret* ___Little Blue Heron* ___Tricolored Heron* ___Cattle Egret* ___Green-backed Heron* ___Black-crowned Night-Heron* ___Yellow-crowned Night-Heron u o c c u c o c c c u u o c c u c o c c o u u r c c u c o c c c u c Ibises, Spoonbill, Stork ___White Ibis* ___Glossy Ibis ___Wood Stork* c r o a a r c c r o Waterfowl ___Canada Goose ___Wood Duck* ___Green-winged Teal ___American Black Duck ___Mallard ___Northern Pintail ___Blue-winged Teal ___Northern Shoveler ___Gadwall ___American Wigeon ___Canvasback ___Redhead ___Ring-necked Duck ___Lesser Scaup ___Common Goldeneye ___Bufflehead ___Hooded Merganser* ___Red-breasted Merganser ___Ruddy Duck o c c o c u u u o u r o c u r r c r o o c c o c u u u o u r o c u r r c r o o c c o c u o u o u r o c u r r c r o Vultures, Hawks and Allies ___Black Vulture* ___Turkey Vulture* c c c c c c Loons ___Common Loon r Grebes ___Pied-billed Grebe ___Horned Grebe c o Pelicans and their Allies ___Double-crested Cormorant ___Anhinga* S c c u r c c c c o c o o c u ___Osprey* ___American Swallow-tailed Kite ___Bald Eagle ___Northern Harrier ___Sharp-shinned Hawk ___Cooper’s Hawk ___Red-shouldered Hawk* ___Broad-winged Hawk ___Red-tailed Hawk* ___Golden Eagle ___American Kestrel* ___Merlin ___Peregrine Falcon SP u S u F r u o u o o c r u r c r r u u o u o o c r u r c r r r c r o W r o u o o c u r c r r Gallinaceous Birds (Quail, Turkey and Allies) ___Wild Turkey* ___Northern Bobwhite* c c u c c c u c Rails, Gallinules, Coots and Cranes ___King Rail* ___Virginia Rail ___Sora ___Purple Gallinule* ___Common Moorhen* ___American Coot ___Sandhill Crane* r r r u u u c r r r r u u u c r Shorebirds ___Killdeer ___Greater Yellowlegs ___Lesser Yellowlegs ___Solitary Sandpiper ___Willet ___Spotted Sandpiper ___Sanderling ___Semipalmated Sandpiper ___Western Sandpiper ___Dunlin ___Short-billed Dowitcher ___Common Snipe ___American Woodcock ___Herring Gull ___Black Tern c u u o r u o o r r o c u r r c o o r c u u o r u o o r r o c u r r Pigeons, Doves ___Mourning Dove* ___Common Ground-Dove* c c c c c c u u c r u u u c o o o r o c u r c c SP S F Cuckoos ___Black-billed Cuckoo ___Yellow-billed Cuckoo* r c c r c Owls ___Eastern Screech-Owl* ___Great Horned Owl ___Barred Owl* u u c u u c u u c u u c Goatsuckers ___Common Nighthawk* ___Chuck-will’s-widow* ___Whip-poor-will c c o c c c c o r Swifts, Hummingbirds ___Chimney Swift ___Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c u c u c u Kingfishers ___Belted Kingfisher* c u c c Woodpeckers ___Red-headed Woodpecker* ___Red-bellied Woodpecker* ___Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ___Downy Woodpecker* ___Hairy Woodpecker* ___Red-cockaded Woodpecker* ___Northern Flicker* ___Pileated Woodpecker* c c c c c u c c u c c c c c c u c c u c c c c u c c Flycatchers ___Eastern Wood-Pewee* ___Acadian Flycatcher* ___Eastern Phoebe ___Great Crested Flycatcher* ___Eastern Kingbird* c u c c c c u c u c c c c Martins and Swallows ___Purple Martin* ___Tree Swallow ___Barn Swallow r c c u Jays and Crows ___Blue Jay* ___American Crow* ___Fish Crow* c u c c c u c c c c W o c u c a c c u c c u c c u c SP S F W Chickadees and Titmice ___Carolina Chickadee* ___Tufted Titmouse* u c u c u c u c Nuthatches ___Red-breasted Nuthatch ___White-breasted Nuthatch ___Brown-headed Nuthatch* r r c r c r c r r c Creepers ___Brown Creeper o o o Wrens ___Carolina Wren* ___Bewick’s Wren ___House Wren ___Winter Wren ___Sedge Wren ___Marsh Wren c r u u u o c r u u u o c r u u u o Kinglets and Gnatcatchers ___Golden-crowned Kinglet ___Ruby-crowned Kinglet ___Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* u a u u a u o a o Bluebirds, Thrushes and Robin ___Eastern Bluebird* ___Veery ___Gray-cheeked Thrus
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Red-cockaded Woodpeckers Okefenokee NWR has approximately 97 red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) clusters (a group of trees used by a family group). Of these, 46 are active. Clusters occur in forested uplands surrounding the swamp and on interior islands within the swamp itself. There are 29 active and 31 inactive perimeter clusters, and 17 active and 20 inactive clusters on the interior islands. Okefenokee NWR's recovery goal is 86 potential breeding groups based on total pine acres within identified use areas. The focus of management is on areas able to support a self-sustaining population of RCW’s. Okefenokee NWR RCW clusters are most likely the remains of a much larger population that once depended on the pine stands surrounding the refuge. Although the refuge currently consists of 24,413 acres of suitable RCW habitat, this acreage is not contiguous. The upland forestry compartments that are intensively managed with fire and silvicultural practices comprise 12,444 acres. An additional 11,969 acres is dispersed over 11 interior islands. The clusters are very isolated due to fragmentation of the habitat. The mature stands of pine preferred by the birds are separated both by natural swamp vegetation and by private industrial lands. This makes it difficult for groups of RCW’s to interact regularly and to replace lost or dispersing family members. Four populations have been identified within the refuge and different management strategies have been developed for each. Thirty-seven percent of Okefenokee's RCW groups live on the upland islands in the interior of the swamp, most accessible only by helicopter. These islands are also within the Okefenokee Wilderness Area. Following Wilderness philosophy, “where the earth and its communities are untrammeled by man”, artificial nest boxes and silvicultural practices are not used in the management of these islands. Fire is the only management tool used to manage habitat on these remote islands. Banding of RCW is not currently conducted on these interior islands due to logistical difficulties. Monitoring the islands for RCW activity during breeding season and checking cavities for suitability allows the refuge staff to determine the status of the populations, reproductive success, and potential limiting factors. Refuge land on the perimeter of the swamp is more intensively managed to preserve and promote the native longleaf pine communities. This management has led to excellent habitat conditions with no mid-story problems, good composition of understory species, and an increasing longleaf pine component. RCW adults and nestlings are banded to monitor group size, composition, and dispersal. Artificial cavities (inserts or drilled cavities) are installed where cavities are limited, ensuring that each cluster has at least four suitable cavities. During 1998, we began releasing RCWs from other populations because of the decrease in the number of active clusters around the refuge perimeter. Between 1998 and 2013, 40 birds were translocated to the Okefenokee, of which 28 have remained in refuge populations. Management goals are focused on optimizing habitat for the RCW while restoring and maintaining the longleaf-wiregrass ecosystem for all wildlife species native to this area. Additionally, forest management agreements with surrounding landowners will be pursued to increase the amount of suitable habitat between upland forestry compartments. August2016 August2016
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness Wilderness Designation On October 1, 1974, ninety percent of the lands in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) were designated as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled (unfettered) by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Act further defines wilderness as areas that: • • • • • • Are affected primarily by nature, where people are visitors; Possess opportunities for solitude; Are Federally-owned, undeveloped, and generally over 5,000 acres; Are managed to allow natural processes to operate; May contain scientific, educational, scenic, or historical features; Are formally designated by Congress. The legislation that created the Okefenokee NWR wilderness area (353, 981 acres) grandfathered in historic uses such as fishing and the use of motorboats up to ten horsepower. It also required the FWS to maintain 4 access areas and up to120 miles of trails. Air Quality and Wilderness A small number of National Wilderness Areas have additional protection as Class I Air Sheds under the 1990 Clean Air Act. Okefenokee is one of only 21 national wildlife refuges across the country with this additional designation. In the Southeastern United States, the most widespread air pollutants are common, everyday substances: particulates (dust and soot), nitrogen and sulfur gases, and the daily by-products of engine combustion, coal burning power plants, and other industrial processes. Okefenokee is a partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other federal land management agencies and state agencies in two air quality monitoring programs established to detect airborne pollutants. One detects pollutants deposited by rain on Okefenokee’s plants, soils and surface water, and the other analyzes airborne particles. Wilderness Values The Wilderness Act is a uniquely American piece of legislation. It preserves natural areas in their wild, beautiful, and primitive character. Wilderness is a chance for visitors to experience a level of solitude not often found in our increasingly technological society. Wilderness is an opportunity for people to test themselves against the elements and the unknown. Wilderness is the prospect of gazing at the night sky without competition from surrounding city/neighborhood lights. Studies show that Americans value wilderness areas, even if they never have an opportunity to visit - they just like to know that some pieces of the Earth will not be paved, dredged, mined, harvested, or otherwise impacted by people. In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create August 2016

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