Description - Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge covers 4,049 acres, with 1,000 acres of open water and 3,049 acres of marsh, hardwood swamp, upland. The lake is a natural Pocosin or Mill Pond probably created by tidal action of the ocean and shaped by a more temperate climate thousands of years ago. Joshua Lee built a low-level dam across the drainge creek on his property and utilized the impounded running water to power a grist mill to grind corn, wheat, and rice. The impounded lake and accompanying mill established the area as a trade center along the early stagecoach route between Waycross and Thomasville, GA. In the 1920's, the E.D. Rivers family attempted to develop the area around the lake for electric power and home development. In the 1970's , the E.D. Rivers Estate threatened to drain the lake and harvest the "lightered stumps" and cypress trees. The Nature Conservancy purchased the land from the E.D. Rivers Estate on March 14, 1980. In April, 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service entered into a lease agreement with The Nature Conservancy for management and operation of Banks Lake. On February 22, 1985, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased Banks Lake from The Nature Conservancy.
Copyright: - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Banks Lake covers about 1,000 acres of open water. There is a triple wide concrete launch ramp. No launch fee is currently charged. The refuge offers both hiking and boating trails. One of the refuge objectives is to provide a showcase outdoor recreational opportunity for the physically challenged.
Recreation - Public use opportunities at Banks Lake include hiking, boating, freshwater fishing, wildlife observation and photography. Sportfish most caught include largemouth bass, chain pickerel, crappie, bluegill, warmouth perch, flier, and catfish. There is no horsepower limitation for boats on the refuge. However, due to the extensive amount of stumps and logs both floating and anchored to the bottom of the lake, idle speed or exclusive use of an electric trolling motor is suggested.
Climate - The climate in South Georgia is generally mild and moist in the winter with summers that can be quite hot and humid. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons inland. Weather on the coast may be milder and windy.
Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is found in the western half of Lanier County in southern Georgia, 2 miles west of Lakeland along State Highway 122.