Folkston, GA… At the Main Entrance to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Folkston, structural preparations have begun in anticipation of the West Mims Fire moving east through the swamp. The lighting-caused fire was reported on April 6, 2017, approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Eddy Tower in the southern portion of the Okefenokee. The Chesser Island Boardwalk and Chesser Island Homestead will be closed to visitors until further notice.
In addition to the facilities closures, the Wilderness Canoe Trail overnight stops are closed to ensure visitor safety. The Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center and Okefenokee Adventures are operating as normal at this time; however, closures may be put in place if necessary. The west side of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, including the Suwannee River Sill and the Stephen C. Foster State Park are currently closed to all visitor access.
Due to the ongoing nature of fires within the Okefenokee and the uncertainty of what the fire situation will be this summer, refuge personnel have determined that the 2017 summer camps will be cancelled. The refuge appreciates the community support for educational programming and we encourage interested visitors to follow the refuge Facebook page for programs that may be scheduled in the future.
For more information regarding the West Mims Fire closures, visit the Inciweb site for the West Mims Fire at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5153/ and follow the Okefenokee Facebook page at www.facebook.com/okefenokeewildliferefuge.