Tag Archives: South Georgia Rivers Creeks & Lakes

Ogeechee River at Oliver

ogeechee river at oliver landing screven county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Oliver Landing is a great place to access the Ogeechee.

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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--, Oliver GA

Flint River at Montezuma

flint river montezuma ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

A great place to access the beautiful Flint River is the George Hooks Landing just west of Montezuma.

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Filed under --MACON COUNTY GA--, Montezuma GA

Banks Lake, Lanier County

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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.

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Joshua Lee operated a grist mill here in the mid-1800s. When he dammed the Carolina bay  on his property, the lake was created.

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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.

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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.

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Banks Lake is part of the Grand Bay-Banks Lake ecosystem, the second largest freshwater wetland in Georgia, after the Okefenokee Swamp.

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The refuge, managed by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, does not have on-site staff. Fishing is allowed, for those with valid licenses.

Lanier County Ga Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

For information on this natural wonder of Georgia, please visit the refuge website.

 

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Filed under --LANIER COUNTY GA--, Lakeland GA

Ichawaynochaway Creek at Morgan

Ichawaynochaway Creek at Morgan Calhoun County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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.

Ichawaynochaway Creek at Morgan GA Calhoun County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

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.

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Filed under --CALHOUN COUNTY GA--, Morgan GA

Sunrise on Morgan Lake, Long County

Morgan Lake Altamaha River Long County GA Sunrise Fog Logged Out Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Driving east on US 341 between Jesup and Ludowici you’ll pass a number of “lakes” and “branches”. This section of Morgan Lake has been logged out recently, but it’s a beautiful sight at sunrise, nonetheless.

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Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--

Seventeen Mile River, Coffee County

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Knees Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The blackwater Seventeen Mile River can be hard to find, largely due to the fact that it’s considered an “ephemeral river”. This means that  it’s dry as often as it’s wet, often more so. Much of it is located on private property, as well. The best place to see this natural wonder is at General Coffee State Park.

Seveneen Mile River Public Fishing General Coffee State Park Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

If you’re a fisherman, the best time to visit is after a good period of rain. As a navigable stream, the Seventeen Mile River is nearly impenetrable, but several open “lakes” provide good places to fish.

Gar Lake Seventeen Mile River Coffee County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Gar Lake, seen here, is one of the easiest to access.

Seventeen Mile River Gar Lake Coffee County GA Photograph Copyright Bran Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The park prides itself on being one of the best kept secrets in the state. Its protection has enabled rare plants with limited ranges like the Green-fly Orchid (Epidendrum magnoliae) and Narrow-leaf Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia tenuifolia) to survive. Native and introduced ferns are abundant here, as well.

Seventeen 17 Mile River  Coffee County GA Macrothelypteris torresiana Marianna Maiden Torres Fern Invasive Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Macrothelypteris torresiana, known as Torres or Mariana Maiden Fern, is fairly common here. Though widely cultivated for its beauty, it’s a non-native and therefore considered invasive.

Seventeen Mile River Coffee County GA Woodwardia areolata Netted Chain Fern Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Woodwardia areolata, or Netted Chain Fern, is a widespread native and likely much more recognizable.

Seventeen Mile River Catface Turpentine Pine Tree Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Evidence of the naval stores industry can be found scattered around the river, as seen in the “catface” scar on this pine.

Seventeen Mile River Boardwalk General Coffee State Park Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Several long boardwalks provide easy access to the river and swamps and make for one of the most peaceful walks in South Georgia.

Seventeen 17 Mile River Ephemeral Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Many would just call this a swamp. I think of it as a piece of paradise.

Seventeen 17 Mile River Coffee County GA Mixed Hardwood Swamp Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Cypress is dominant here.

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Trees Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Seventeen Mile River Cypress Trunk Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The knees are visible everywhere, especially in the dry beds interspersed throughout the landscape.

Seventeen Mile River Dry Lakebed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

For information on the park, visit:

http://gastateparks.org/GeneralCoffee

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Filed under --COFFEE COUNTY GA--, Chatterton GA

Rock Outcrops, Reubin Lake

Reubin Lake Monolith Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Known locally as “The Rocks”, this site in the Salem community of northwestern Ben Hill County seems out of place in the Coastal Plain landscape surrounding it. It’s been an area landmark for at least a century but there is no general access. I’m unable to give directions to the site.

Reubin Lake Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

For years these geological features were informally identified as Ashburn formations (Wharton, The Natural Environments of Georgia, Atlanta, 1978, et al.) , after the first well-documented site of this type, located off Highway 41 north of Ashburn. Since I’m not a geologist, I don’t know if they’re related to the well-known Altamaha formations (or Altamaha grit). I suspect they may be grouped together at this point. Recent scholarship suggests they may be remnants of coral reefs near the ancient shoreline. Still others believe they’re meteoric in origin.

Reubin Lake Ben Hill County GA Natural Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

It’s looks quite small from some perspectives but the largest rock is actually nearly twenty feet high.

Reubin Lake Rock Outcroppings Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Boulders like the ones seen below can also be found in random nearby locations.

Reubin Lake Ben Hill County GA Altamaha Formation Rocks Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This is an important natural heritage site and I hope it remains in pristine condition for years to come.

Reubin Lake Rock Formations Ben Hill County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--