Grand Bay, Lowndes County

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Grand Bay is located within a 13,000-acre wetlands system which is said to be the second largest natural blackwater wetland in the state, after the Okefenokee Swamp. It is of the type of land features known as “Carolina bays” which, according to one theory were created by meteor showers. Dudley’s Hammock, a rare example of a mature broadleaf-evergreen hammock community, is found in the area. Strolling leisurely along the boardwalk which provides easy access to the wetland, one of the most beautiful plants likely to be encountered in late spring and summer is the Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), as pictured below.

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At the end of the half-mile boardwalk is the 54-foot Kinderlou Tower, which served as a fire lookout in nearby Kinderlou Forest from 1939-1993. It was donated to the state by Harley Langdale, Jr., a prominent Valdosta businessman. Be advised in summer that the walk up the tower can be exhausting and that numerous red wasps nest on the structure. The view from the top, though, is worth the effort.

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To reach Grand Bay WMA from Valdosta take U. S. Highway 221 North approximately 10 miles and turn left on Knight’s Academy Road. Go 1.5 miles to the entrance sign on the right. The entrance road leads 1 mile north to a “T”. The boardwalk is to your left, the interpretive center and canoe trail entrance to your right. A Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass, or GORP, is now required for access; for more information, call the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division at 229-426-5267.

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An aside: My good friend Jan Stokes, who had a long career with DNR at Bowens Mill, pointed out to me in an email just how difficult a task it was to build the boardwalk in 100-degree and freezing weather over several years, battling snakes and alligators at every turn. Their dedication to the project mirrored the enthusiasm of Tip Hon, who was the guiding force behind the state’s vision for Grand Bay WMA.

9 Comments

Filed under --LOWNDES COUNTY GA--

9 responses to “Grand Bay, Lowndes County

  1. Barbara Starling

    Hi, Brian,
    I’ll have to check out your directions to see if I can find it.
    I went there from off of Hwy. 125, at the Grand Bay sign, and road for miles and never saw another living soul nor critter.
    I came across a cross road but, I didn’t dare turn either direction for concern of getting even more lost.
    I never did find this place. Thank you for sharing this info!

  2. Timothy Davis

    I had thought the Chickasawhatchee Swamp southwest of Albany was the second largest in the state, the State WMA is 19,700 acres. Many historians think this was what DeSoto referred to as the “Swamps of Toa” in his journals, his party found in it slow going through this area.

  3. Margaret Connor

    Area schools still take educational field trips to Grand Bay. I went with all of my kids when they were in elementary school. We all loved it. They got to hold a baby alligator! It was my favorite field trip to go on. Another favorite: Chehaw Park in Albany, GA.

  4. Vicky (Armentrout) Wheeler (grandaughter of Thomas & Iduma Jernigan)

    Hey Brian – enjoy your work immensely. The entrance to Grand Bay is adjacent to property owned by B.J. Wetherington famiy. My grandfather Thomas Jernigan sharecropped on this farm for appr. 35 years. I remember seeing (& hearing) quite a few wildcats, bears, & wild hogs on this property back in the 1960’s. Knights Academy Road was a dirt road then & not traveled much except for people who lived there. On the north field (next to the entrance of Grand Bay VMA) was a tractor path going in a northerly direction to the woods which we would walk barefooted (of course) to a pond & swampy area. There we would fish with cane poles & I would always catch more mosquitoes and horse flies than fish. Gators, rattlesnakes, cotton mouths – this was their world & we stayed out of their way. A magical world to a little girl growing up in the south –

  5. Love your shots of Grand Bay. This is one of the first places I discovered when I moved to Lowndes County. Wish I would have read your advice about the wasps at the tower in the summer sooner; we found that out the hard way xD

  6. bob glidden

    am reading a book called Slavery by another name, that mentions kinderlou plantation. are there any buildings/local sites surviving?

  7. Cathee Boswell

    These are my old stompin grounds. This area is called Kinderlou. It is actually the far side of Grand Bay which runs from Banks Lake in Lakeland to this area. The Langdale Lumber family owned most of this area at one time. Used to be a lumber grader for them at one time.The air base has taken over the property in the middle section and turned it into a bombing range. Apparently there just was not enough other areas to bomb. That area was the most beautiful pristine of the property. I used to skip school there. I am 56 now. One of my favorite places in the world. Go there when I go home.

  8. Teresa miller

    I love your work, to be able to go out n take such old beauty, would be a joy!!

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