National Wildlife Refuge System

Black History Conserved on Refuges

Maroon slave communities were established in some parts Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA, and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA.
Credit: National Park Service
volunteer and partnership
More than 150 years after the last slave escaped to freedom through the thick forest of what is now Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA, an Underground Railroad Education Pavilion has been opened on the refuge.
Credit: USFWS

February is Black History Month. What are some natural places to celebrate your heritage?

National wildlife refuges.

Surprised? Don’t be. National wildlife refuges help protect our nation’s history as well as our natural heritage!

For example, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge across the Virginia and North Carolina border was the first refuge named by the National Park Service to its Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.  The Swamp served as a both refuge and route to freedom. Some established “maroon” communities which continue to be the subject of historical research.

Take two black history tours of national wildlife refuges here and here.

More on maroon slave society.

Last updated: February 20, 2013