- Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 in order to preserve the 438,000 acre Okefenokee Swamp. Presently, the refuge encompasses approximately 396,000 acres. In 1974, to further ensure the protection of this unique ecosystem, the interior 353,981 acres of the refuge were designated a National Wilderness Area. The swamp remains one of the oldest and most well preserved freshwater areas in America and extends 38 miles north to south and 25 miles east to west.
There is a refuge Visitor's Center and modern concession.
Recreation - The East Entrance offers the visitors access via the manmade historic Suwannee Canal. The swamp's most extensive open areas branch off the Canal. The small natural lakes and gator holes dotting the prairies offer some of the area's finest freshwater sport fishing. Home of the Florida sandhill crane, the prairies are excellent sites for bird watching.
Modern concession facilities offer guided boat tours; boat, motor, and canoe rentals; snacks; souvenirs; and camping supplies.
From the visitor center at the east entrance visitors enjoy a 4.5 mile wildlife observation drive, 4.5 miles of hiking trails, a .75 mile boardwalk into the swamp, two observation towers, and a restored swamp homestead.
Climate - Climate throughout much of Georgia is warm to hot and humid in summer with winters generally mild. One should be prepared for cold weather during winter months.
The Okefenokee is located just east of Valdosta, GA via Hwy. 94. There are several entrances. The East entrance is located 8 miles southwest of Folkston, Georgia on State Highway 121/23 and 4 miles west of the main entrance sign. General Admission Fee is $5.00 per vehicle. Tour buses with 25 or fewer cost $25.00; 26 to 50 people are $50.00. Educational Fee waiver upon request.
The West Entrance is via the 82-acre Stephen C. Foster State Park, a Georgia State Park, operating under a leasing agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This entrance is located 17 miles east of Fargo along Georgia State Highway Spur 177.