Tag Archives: Billy’s Island

Logging Railroads in the Okefenokee Swamp 1889-1942

Here are maps of logging railroads in the Okefenokee Swamp, and detailed maps of railroads and the town on Billys Island.

[Logging Railroads and Billys Island, Okefenokee Swamp]
Logging Railroads and Billys Island, Okefenokee Swamp

The Billys Island maps are by Chris Trowell or revised from his maps. As the redrawn map says, Billys Island is 1.8 miles from Stephen C. Foster State Park, upstream on the Suwannee River and its East Fork. As you can see by the map, it was quite a bustling place. Until the trees ran out.

I don’t know who drew the map of all the railroads in the Swamp, but I would guess Chris Trowell may have had something to do with it. This is presumably the same C.T. Trowell frequently cited in the documents for Floyds Island in the National Register of Historic Places, and his paper included, “Seeking a Sanctuary: A Chronicle of Efforts to Preserve the Okefenokee,” C.T. Trowell, 1998.

These railroads did not all exist at the same time, since they pulled up tracks from one place to go another place.

These maps came from a ranger at Stephen C. Foster State Park, back in 2021. Naturally, right now I cannot find the email he sent with the maps. Continue reading

Okefenokee Camp, Paddle, and Cast Iron Campfire Cooking 2021-12-03-05

Two nights of camping at Griffis Fish Camp, with a paddle back down there on the Suwannee River Saturday from Stephen C. Foster State Park, and an optional paddle upstream to Billys Island in the Okefenokee Swamp Sunday, plus cast iron campfire cooking each night.

We have the Red Top Shelter reserved for the group, you can pitch your tent anywhere in that vicinity. Everyone is responsible for paying Mr. Griffis on site for camping and launch fee: $5 per person per night and $2.00 launch fee. Reservations not required for tent camping. There are restrooms and showers. There is one electrical outlet for everyone to share, and one water spigot. This is rustic camping. If you’re bringing a camper, call and get a reservation for hookup.

When: Gather before dark if you can, camping, Friday, December 3, 2021
Gather 8:30 AM, launch 9 AM to paddle from SCFSP to Griffis Fish Camp, Saturday, December 4, 2021
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM to paddle upstream from SCFSP to Billys Island, Sunday, December 5, 2021

Camping: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left. Clinch County. Call in advance to reserve pavillions: 229-415-9601; pay tharges on site.

GPS: 30.78246, -82.443594

No paddle is planned for Friday so come and set up camp anytime that afternoon. Mr. Griffis will probably come around Saturday evening to collect from campers. We’ll have a campfire Friday and Saturday nights, bring firewood if you can. It’s going to be chilly.

It gets dark early, the sun sets at 5:26 p.m., we’ll get the fire going and prepare for cast iron/campfire cooking. Show us what you can do with your old cast iron pan! There is no menu and anything goes, including hot dogs on a palmetto stick. Or even S’mores. Bring your own drinks, plate, bowl, utensils, etc. to help reduce waste. The more the merrier but cooking is completely optional. Come enjoy the campfire.

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp, 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel to Stephen C. Foster State Park. Charlton County.

GPS: 30.826833, -82.361333

Saturday morning we leave Griffis at 8:45 and drive to Stephen C. Foster State Park. Be prepared to help with shuttling vehicles. Park fees apply if you don’t have a Ga. State Park, or Federal pass. Parking passes are free to borrow at any Ga. library. We launch at the park marina and enjoy a 7.5 mile downstream paddle in the Okefenokee, going past Mixon’s Hammock, on though the Narrows, over the Sill, and back to Griffis. There can be swift, twisting currents, depending on water level. PFD required at all times on the water. We’ll take a break after we get through the Sill.

Sunday morning there will be an optional paddle to historic Billy’s Island. There is no specific checkout time so you can pack up before or after the paddle.

Take Out: Griffis Fish Camp Landing, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left. Clinch County.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

[Griffis Camp sign]

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Okefenokee Suwannee River Outing @ Fargo, GA 2016-12-10

Update 2017-02-05 Pictures.

Okefenokee West Entrance Trails You can join WWALS for a fall Saturday paddle on the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee swamp. Bring a boat, PFD, and paddle, or you can rent those at the park.

When: 10AM Saturday December 10th 2016

Where: Georgia’s Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, GA

What: Paddle from Billy’s Lake down through the River Narrows to the Suwannee River Sill.

Distance: About 7 miles in about 4 hours Continue reading