Okefenokee wildfire does more good than bad

Okefenokee wildfire does more good than bad

30 July 2011

published by www.wtvm.com

USA — People are coming from all over to once again enjoy the Okefenokee Swamp and all that it has to offer.

“I’ve had kind of a life-long love affair with Okefenokee Swamp. My dad started bringing me down here right after he got home from Vietnam,” said Okefenokee Adventures Owner Chip Campbell.

So you can imagine what it must have been like for Campbell to watch the place burn, the place where he and his now deceased dad spent much of their time. But surprisingly fires are welcomed in the swamp.

“We know that fire is part of how Okefenokee Swamp works. You get these areas over here that were a dense thicket and now they’re opened up and you can see tree lines out in the distance that you’ve never seen before and you can see Sandhill Cranes walking through an open area that they would not have used prior to that.”

Not to mention the ash makes the water sweeter which attracts more wildlife.

It’s going to take a long time for the Okefenokee Swamp to get its old look back. Campbell, however, doesn’t think that will happen in his lifetime.

“Provided I have a nice long run, by the end of my days there will probably be enough regrowth of shrubs along here that it will probably at that point come to look a good bit more like it was before. The swamp changes, but part of the beauty of it is that it remains the Okefenokee Swamp.”

Guided Tours and Talks are available at the East Entrance of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. All activities start from the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center, 11 miles southwest of Folkston, GA, off the Okefenokee Parkway (GA 121/23 South), at the west end of Suwannee Canal Road. For a schedule of other activities visit http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/.

Saturday, July 30: Take A Walk on the Fire Side 9:30-10:15 a.m., Walk along the Cane Pole Trail and witness what the fire leaves behind. Discover how this force of nature is a key factor in the survival of the swamp and its wildlife. Bring water, sun screen, bug spray, and sturdy shoes. Meet at the visitor center. Trail is wheelchair accessible.

Sunday, July 31: Nature’s Custodian 2-2:45 p.m., Join a ranger in the visitor center theater for an illustrated PowerPoint program exploring fire’s creative revitalizing power at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

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