Okefenokee season, fall 2023

Apparently it’s Okefenokee season this fall, with resolutions for the Swamp and against the proposed strip mine, when Clinch County also reserved cash match for a Dark Sky Observatory, one of three natural resources economy projects around the Swamp. There is some movement on listing the Refuge as a UNESCO World Heritage Site including an art auction dinner in Brunswick. Charlton, Ware, and Clinch Counties held their first-ever collaboration, Okefenokee Gateway Getaway. There were dinners and paddles at all three entrances to the Swamp, including a WWALS paddle to camp at Floyds Island, the most remote spot in Georgia, with people from Miami, Alabama, South Carolina, and Atlanta, and a Georgia Water Coalition panel attended by Suwannee Riverkeeper.

You can still help stop the proposed titanium dioxide strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp:

[Collage of Okefenokee season, fall 2023]
Collage of Okefenokee season, fall 2023

In August, Echols and Clinch Counties passed resolutions for the Swamp and against the proposed titanium dioxide mine. When DeKalb County passed a resolution in November, it mentioned those, and a previous resolution by Waycross and Ware County.

[Resolution and Clinch County Commission 2023-09-11]
Resolution and Clinch County Commission 2023-09-11

Clinch County also reserved $50,000 as cash match for a Dark Sky Obsevatory next to the Suwannee River Eco-Lodge (thanks to Superior Pine Products), which is one of three Okefenokee Experience natural resources economy projects, including a Natural History & Ecological Interpretive Center in Ware County, on the grounds of Okefenokee Swamp Park, and a Cultural History & Community Center in Charlton County, in Folkston near the county offices. Thanks to Kim Bednarek, Executive Director of Okefenokee Swamp Park for promoting and explaining these projects.

[Dark Sky Observatory, Cultural and Natural History around the Okefenokee Swamp]
Dark Sky Observatory, Cultural and Natural History around the Okefenokee Swamp

In September, the U.S. National Park Service filed notice that it will pursue getting the Okefenokee NWR listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Okefenokee Swamp Park and others organized an Okefenokee Art Gala in Brunswick that Suwannee Riverkeeper attended; pictures to come.

In October, Charlton, Clinch, and Ware Counties held their first-ever collaborative event, Okefenokee Gateway Getaway, including a tour of the only all-African-American Civilian Conservation Corps camp, a walk down the Chesser Island Boardwalk, and standing on the trembling earth of floating peat with Refuge Manager Michael Lusk. Pictures to come of all that.

And pictures and a video to come of the GWC panel in Waycross, and pictures of the Okefenokee Swamp Park boat tour.

That’s right, there have been so many Okefenokee events lately, it’s hard to keep up with posting about them.

Also, the only person at every event I attended: Michael Lusk, Manager, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!