The Chattahoochee River cuts through high bluffs at Fort Gaines to form the border between Georgia and Alabama.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Rivers Creeks & Lakes
Banks Lake is a natural blackwater lake characterized by shallow water and cypress trees. Located just east of Lakeland, it was owned for much of the 2oth century by the family of Governor Ed Rivers.
Joshua Lee operated a grist mill here in the mid-1800s. When he dammed the Carolina bay on his property, the lake was created.
Unsubstantiated sources suggest that Governor Ed Rivers’ family attempted to develop the area in the 1920s and that his estate threatened to drain and log the lake in the 1970s, but regardless, the property was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1980, assuring its preservation. In 1985, the Conservancy sold the lake to the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, who redesignated it Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
With around 20,000 visitors per year, Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the least crowded parks in the system. It almost feels like a roadside park because, effectively, it is. There are docks and a short boardwalk and an outfitter on site. A gentleman I met on the dock told me that fishermen tie strips of cloth to trees to find their way around. It’s apparently quite thick with cypress.
Banks Lake is part of the Grand Bay-Banks Lake ecosystem, the second largest freshwater wetland in Georgia, after the Okefenokee Swamp.
The refuge, managed by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, does not have on-site staff. Fishing is allowed, for those with valid licenses.
For information on this natural wonder of Georgia, please visit the refuge website.
Perhaps due to to its lyrical name, the Ichawaynochaway is one of the best known waterways of Southwest Georgia. (Locals often shorten the name to Nochaway). But it’s also one of the longest “creeks” in the state, cutting its way through nearly 84 miles of red Georgia clay. It rises near Weston, in Webster County and flows through Stewart, Randolph, Terrell, and Calhoun counties before joining the Flint River in Baker County. Perhaps dry runs in the summer months are the reason it isn’t called a river, but when viewed at high water in wet seasons it’s as much a river as any other in the region.
There’s debate as to the origin of the name, but it’s a Muskogee word. Some suggest it refers to either beaver or deer but the more popular theory asserts that it means “the place where deer sleep”. The latter seems likely, considering it runs adjacent to some of the best hunting lands in Georgia.