May 1, 2008

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Pt. 1

Being so close to the setting of the old comic strip "Pogo", we decided to visit the Okefenokee Swamp (officially the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge) and look for Pogo and friends.

We found Albert the Alligator in several places in the park.

Doug tried out a demonstration of the swamp's terrain. Okefenokee was named by the Seminole Indians and means "Land of the Trembling Earth".

This cool jukebox features "Swamp Songs", the sounds of the animals of the Okefenokee Swamp. The best part is...the jukebox is free.

The visitor center features an audio-animatronic storyteller whose stories are accompanied by video. Unfortunately, the "animatronic" part didn't seem to be functioning any longer as the storyteller no longer moved.

The Swamp Drive featured many opportunities to discover gators. There REALLY is one in the picture below, we promise.


The Canal Diggers Trail gives visitors a close-up view of the attempt to dig a canal in order to drain the swamp into the Atlantic Ocean. This project, begun in 1891, was abandoned due primarily to lack of funds.

Here Marlon, walking the Canal Diggers Trail, attempts the "peace" sign.

These long narrow ponds along the side of the road are known as "borrow ditches" and are rich in plant and animal life.

Look who Doug found poking his head out of the water in one of the borrow ditches.

The W.T. Chesser family settled on a 592 acre island on the edge of the Okefenokee in the late 1800's. The homestead pictured below was built by grandson Tom in 1927.


When the National Wildlife Refuge came to be in 1937, portions of the Chesser family began to relocate. Tom and his wife, Iva, remained with their family on the island until 1958.

The house, originally four rooms, reportedly cost $200 to build! Two bedrooms were added as the family grew to seven children.

Next, we head outside to view the Chesser Homestead outbuildings.

First, we find the Syrup Shed where we think syrup was made.

For more pictures, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2008/may/okefenokee-national/ pictures 1-74.

Next we look at the farm animals.

To be continued...

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