Brittany D. McClure
From Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge’s midwinter-spring visitation is on the upswing, and the east
entrance’s Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center is now open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will
remain open seven days a week until the end of June, when it will return to five days a week for the
slower summer season.
Even though the calendar says “winter” – signs of spring are everywhere in the refuge. Golden club, also
known as “neverwet,” has sent its golden flower spikes above the blackwater of the wetland prairies; red
maple is budding; and songs of common yellowthroats along the Suwannee Canal are joining those of the
Carolina wren and blue-gray gnatcatcher. The red-shouldered hawks are even checking out their previous
year’s nest, about a mile down the canal from the boat ramp.
Visitors can take a guided tour boat ride into the swamp, or can rent a kayak or canoe from Okefenokee
Adventures adjacent to the visitor center. There is a seven-mile auto/bicycle road with stops along the
way for hiking or watching gators and birds, as well as exploring the Chesser Island Homestead. And
there are ranger-led programs every Saturday.
The east entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately seven miles
southwest of Folkston, Georgia, off Okefenokee Pkwy South (GA121/23). The visitor center is
approximately four miles west of the entrance at the road’s end.