Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Okefenokee Tour Highlights Cooperation
10 Region, February 24, 2005
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Okefenokee Tour Highlights Cooperation

Staff members from both the U.S. House and Senate, as well as senior officials from the Department of Interior's fire management office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Branch of Fire Management gathered at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge on February 24, 2005 to learn first-hand about wildland fire management as a cooperative venture.

Refuge managers highlighted the Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners and the refuge's forestry and fire programs as highly successful ways that hazardous fuels and natural resources are managed on the refuge. The landowners association is a completely voluntary group formed in 1994 to manage, protect and promote forest resources in and around the Okefenokee Swamp. The association is one of the first examples of cooperation between federal, state, and local resources regarding fire management in and around the Okefenokee Swamp.

The day's events included official briefings, followed by a one-hour helicopter tour over the refuge, and ended with a traditional low country boil accompanied by a spectacular moonrise over the swamp.

Okefenokee was established in 1936 to preserve the 438,000-acre Okefenokee Swamp. The refuge currently encompasses 396,000 acres of which 353,981 are designated as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. About 33,000 acres are being restored to once-abundant longleaf pine and wiregrass habitats. Species of concern in the area include red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. The refuge hosts more than 400,000 visitors annually.

No contact information available. Please contact Larry Dean, 612-713-5313, larry_dean@fws.gov
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