The Okefenokee Swamp is at risk. Here’s why

April 18, 2023
1 min read
The Okefenokee Swamp is at risk. Here's why
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia to kayak, hike, fish, and participate in other recreational activities. Photo contributed by Joy Campbell

The Gist: The Okefenokee Swamp, a wetland treasure shared by Georgia and Florida, is now on America’s Most Endangered Rivers list for 2023 due to threats from a proposed heavy mineral sands mine.

What Happened?: American Rivers included the swamp in the annual list, while Georgia River Network, who nominated the swamp, urged Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division to reject the mine permits to preserve the area’s clean water, wildlife, and heritage.

Why It Matters:

  • Okefenokee Swamp is home to diverse wildlife, including alligators, endangered species, and the Florida black bear.
  • The swamp supports a thriving tourism economy, with an annual average of 600,000 visits, generating over $50 million in local spending and supporting 826 jobs.
  • The swamp is a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site, and part of the ancestral lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

By The Numbers:

  • Over 100,000 citizens submitted letters and emails during a public comment period, opposing the mine.
  • Recent polling shows more than 70% of Georgia voters are against the mine.

How you can help: To help protect the Okefenokee Swamp, text SWAMP to 52886 or visit

More Information: The annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers report aims to spotlight rivers where key decisions will shape their future. Past reports have led to the removal of outdated dams and protection of rivers through Wild and Scenic designations.


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