Protect the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge! — The National Wildlife Refuge Association


A National Treasure

Encompassing over 400,000 acres, the Okefenokee NWR is a true marvel. It’s not just a local treasure but a vital part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a network of public lands safeguarded for wildlife conservation across the country. The unique features of Okefenokee NWR have earned it several prestigious designations:

  • National Wilderness Area: Nearly 359,000 acres of the Okefenokee NWR are designated as Congressionally-protected wilderness. This vast area provides a haven for undisturbed ecosystems, offering solitude for wilderness enthusiasts seeking a chance to immerse themselves in the refuge’s natural beauty.

  • Largest National Wildlife Refuge East of the Mississippi River.: Offering critical habitat for a wider variety of species than many other eastern refuges.

  • Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park: Protecting some of the darkest night skies in the nation for stargazers to enjoy the wonders of the cosmos.

  • RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance: Recognized as a wetland of global significance due to its remarkable ecological richness, biodiversity, and irreplaceable role in maintaining the ecological health of the region. The Okefenokee is one of the largest designated wetlands in the United States, attracting migratory birds and serving as a critical breeding ground for countless species.

A Sanctuary of Life

The Okefenokee NWR is a tapestry of life unlike any other. Towering old-growth cypress trees, some reaching 400 years old, provide a majestic backdrop for a diverse array of plant and animal life. Carnivorous pitcher plants and delicate water lilies share the water’s surface, showcasing the fascinating ecological tapestry of the Okefenokee. Bald eagles soar overhead, their calls echoing across the swamp. Bobcats stalk prey with silent steps, and black bears lumber through the undergrowth. This vibrant ecosystem provides critical habitat for over 600 plant species. Remarkably, the Okefenokee NWR is an irreplaceable home for hundreds of species, including some threatened and endangered creatures, like:

  • Gopher tortoises – These keystone species create burrows that provide shelter for over 350 other species.

  • Wood storks – These majestic wading birds depend on healthy wetlands for feeding and breeding.

  • Indigo snakes – The longest non-venomous snake in North America, the indigo snake is a vital predator in the ecosystem.

  • Red-cockaded woodpeckers – These cavity-nesting birds create homes in old-growth trees, benefiting many other species.

  • Alligators – An iconic symbol of the swamp, over 10,000 alligators call the Okefenokee Swamp home.

A Looming Threat: The Twin Pines Mine

Despite revisions, the proposed Twin Pines strip mine poses a serious threat to Okefenokee NWR. Strip mining activities disrupt the natural flow of water, potentially contaminating clean water sources and harming delicate wetland habitats. The economic benefits of the mine are short-lived and pale in comparison to the long-term damage it could inflict on Okefenokee NWR and the surrounding communities that depend on it.

Take Action to Save the Okefenokee!

Here’s how you can help:

The Okefenokee Swamp is a tapestry of life, a vital link in the web of nature. By protecting it, we safeguard not just the alligators and the cypress trees but the essence of what makes our planet extraordinary. The National Wildlife Refuge Association will stop at nothing to protect the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.


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