Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia - Florida

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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A slimy, stinking, pestilent morass of foul water and quicksand. Hollywood's Okeefenokee. Not the real one.

The real thing is the sluggish upper part of the Suwanee River (yes, that Suwanee River). It's clean, clear, flowing, generally shallow, and beneath a foot or so of decaying vegetation, has a hard sandy bottom. You can certainly get lost here, but not in quicksand. As the map above shows, it owes its existence to a low ridge on the east. On the map above, contours are at 20-meter intervals with near sea level in the southeast and over 60 meters in the northwest. It's flat, but with enough relief to result in interesting drainages. The ridge is the Wicomico Shoreline Complex of Pleistocene age and is a former barrier island.

It is true that until well into the 20th century, malaria and yellow fever plagued swampy areas of the U.S. In 1878, a yellow fever epidemic killed 5,000 people in Memphis. Once these diseases were shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes, mosquito abatement programs eradicated malaria and yellow fever from the U.S. and most of the Americas.

Okeefenokee Swamp Southern pine forest scenery east of the swamp.
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Okeefenokee Swamp Okeefenokee Swamp Park is a nicely run private park at the north end of the swamp.
Okeefenokee Swamp Among other things, the park preserves the studio of cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo.

Readers old enough to remember Pogo, all together now...
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla Wash, and Kalamazoo.
Nora's freezin' on the trolley.
Swaller, dollar, cauliflower, alley-garoo.

Okeefenokee Swamp I bet there are Nobel-Prize winning authors who wish they could be remembered for a line like this one.
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Okeefenokee Swamp The visitor center.
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Into the Swamp

Okeefenokee Swamp Boat excursions venture a few miles into the swamp.
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Okeefenokee Swamp An old still
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Okeefenokee Swamp Remnants of an Indian dugout canoe
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Okeefenokee Swamp Left and below: cypress roots and knees.
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Okeefenokee Swamp Large snake along the boardwalk
Okeefenokee Swamp Boardwalk into the swamp.

Below: an excursion train travels a short loop around the edge of the swamp, visiting remnants of a logging camp.

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Swamp Thangs

Okeefenokee Swamp Yet more evidence of the decline of Western civilization - people have to be told alligators are dangerous.

Because if you don't tell them, they will do something stupid...

  • and sue
  • and win
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Created 7 April 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

Not an official UW Green Bay site