Tag Archives: Stephen C. Foster State Park

Floyd’s Island, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River 2020-11-07

A little rain didn’t stop us on a fun two nights of camping and two days of paddling to and from Floyd’s Island in the Okefenokee NWR. Yes, the dozen of us saw gators, cormorants, and herons on the Suwannee River, the tree canopy over the run to Floyd’s Island, and deer on the island.

Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading this expedition, and to Shirley Kokidko for provoking it.

[banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer]
banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer

Also we saw Georgia River Network’s thirty paddlers coming in Sunday as we were going out, but my camera had run down by then. Here’s a picture of GRN E.D. Rena Ann Peck on the Friday before, in Moniac, GA.

Here are more pictures, also on the WWALS website.

Many paddlers posted pictures on facebook. Continue reading

Floyd’s Island Okefenokee Camping, Stephen C. Foster State Park, 2020-11-07

Update 2020-11-22: Pictures

Overnight Camping at the Okefenokee Swamp: herons, fish, otters, and yes, gators! Maybe you’ll see the black bear that hangs around Stephen C. Foster State Park.

When: Gather 10 AM and launch 10:30 AM on Saturday, November 7, 2020
Camp overnight, in the Swamp if possible, otherwise at the State Park or Griffis Fish Camp.
end 5 PM Sunday, November 8, 2020

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp, 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631. From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and proceed to Stephen C. Foster State Park, which is after you pass Griffis Fish Camp.

GPS: 30.826833, -82.361333

Take Out: Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp

Bring: camping gear, and the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online: wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
wwals.net/donations/#join

Boats: are for rent at the State Park.

Paddling: We’d like to paddle as far in as Floyd’s Island, but depending on conditions we may go to Billys Island or Minnies Lake. Camping on a platform is somewhat difficult in the virus pandemic situation, so this is currently planned as a day trip with camping at Griffis Fish Camp or at the State Park.

Camping: Griffis Fish Camp is at 10257 Ga Highway 177, Fargo, GA 31631-4547; 912-637-5289.
For reservations at Stephen C. Foster State Park, please use this form:
https://www.reserveamerica.com/explore/stephen-c-foster-state-park/GA/530194/overview

Health: We are watching the virus pandemic situation, which may affect campsite availability as well as other things. We will update as needed.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Many]
Map, heron, signs, gator, boats
The map is from the WWALS Suwannee River Wilderness Trail map.
That WWALS map includes the Okefenokee Wilderness Area Canoe Trails (OWACT).
Photos: Continue reading

Strip mine would endanger swamp 2020-05-22

In the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Signs at Exits 18 and 16 from I-75 say “Okefenokee Swamp, Stephen C. Foster State Park, 62 miles,” in hopes travellers will stay in Valdosta first.

[Okefenokee Swamp sign at I-75 exit 16.]
Okefenokee Swamp sign at I-75 exit 16.

The Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee River, a favorite paddling, birding, and fishing location of many people from here. The smoke from the 2017 West Mims Okefenokee fire reached Valdosta. Charlton County thanked Lowndes County for sending assistance.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath of that fire, some miners from Alabama bought up land southeast of the Swamp. Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, of Birmingham, AL, applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to strip mine titanium less than three miles from the Swamp.

After more than 20,000 public comments, the miners Continue reading

Floridan Aquifer withdrawals affect the Okefenokee Swamp, so how could TPM’s withdrawals not? 1995-04-11

Water withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer affect water levels and quality in the Okefenokee Swamp, a pair of researchers concluded 24 years before Twin Pines Minerals of Alabama proposed to withdraw 2.4 4.32 million gallons per day from the Aquifer for a titanium mine within a few miles of the Swamp:

Abstract. A rapid response is observed between water level fluctuations in the Okefenokee Swamp and water levels in the underlying Floridan Aquifer. A lag of approximately one month is common, and a hydraulic diffusivity of 3.83 x 10-3 m2 s-1 best matches the calculated aquifer response to the swamp water level perturbations. The magnitude of leakage between the swamp and the aquifer is uncertain because of a lack of knowledge about the specific storage coefficient in the aquitard separating the swamp and the aquifer which has not been explicitly measured. An intermediate value of specific storage within the likely range of values results in a down- ward vertical flow of 1.2 meters of water per year. This induced recharge can significantly alter the natural water balance within the swamp. Such a large loss of water from the swamp may be responsible for observed pH and water level changes, and increased beavy metal accumulations in aquatic organisms in the swamp.

We cited that study[5] on page 4 of the Suwannee Riverkeeper comments to USACE about TPM, just after noting Twin Pines application to withdraw 4.32 million gallons per day (mgd) of Floridan Aquifer water much closer to the Swamp than any other permitted withdrawal. TPM’s own hydrology study in that withdrawal application shows a cone of depression in the Floridan Aquifer extending under the Swamp:

[Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days]
Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days

How could that not affect Swamp water levels and content?

As pointed out to the Corps by Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP), any change to the water level in the Swamp would Continue reading

Comments: 20,338 on titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –USACE 2019-09-12

If this and the 27 news articles on radio, TV, and newspapers in Georgia and Florida, several of them carried by Associated Press across the country, plus the ten op-eds and three editorials, is not enough to establish controversy, I wonder what is. Maybe still more comments and news articles and social media?

[Public Notice: 20,338 comments]
Public Notice: 20,338 comments
PDF

Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 13 September 2019, Mining proposal near Okefenokee draws more than 20K comments from public

The Suwannee Riverkeeper, on Thursday, sent 22 pages of questions to the Corps and the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection asking the agency to deny the permit. The Riverkeeper joined the SELC and other organizations and individuals in asking the Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, the highest level of analysis available when a proposed federal action may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

Also in that AJC story:

Commenters expressed concerns ranging from the acres of wetlands that would be lost to what they considered inadequate studies conducted to determine the potential impact of the mine.

In a letter to the Corps, the Southern Environmental Law Center said Continue reading

Deny or EIS, titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS 2019-09-12

Sent just now as PDF. You can still send in your comments today.

[Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?]
Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine? PDF


September 12, 2019

To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
       Attention: Ms. Holly Ross,  holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil
       1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia  31707

Cc: Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, stephen.wiedl@dnr.ga.gov
       Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division,
       Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554

Dear Colonel Hibner,

Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks USACE:

  • to reject the subject Application from Twin Pines Minerals (TPM), given the inappropriate location which would over the years move ever closer to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, combined with the numerous omissions from the Application regarding the wide hydrogeologic, water quality, ecologic, and economic ramifications of the proposed mining, and the numerous other mines relevant to the proposal.

If USACE continues to process the Application, WWALS requests USACE:

  • to require a complete hydrogeological assessment and report, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and an economic analysis, with all three covering all the relevant features, mines, and applications in south Georgia and north Florida, including at least those outlined in this letter.
  • to accept comments until at least ninety days after all these documents are submitted to USACE and distributed to the public, preferably on USACE’s website, without requiring site visits to Albany to get them.
  • to hold public hearings in Georgia and Florida for further independent input and review after sufficient time (months or years) for independent third-party review.

The proposed Charlton County, Georgia, TPM mine site is hydraulically upgradient from the Okefenokee Swamp and within close proximity to the boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), with its 600,000 visits per year for boating, birding, and fishing, with more than $60 million annual economic effects including hundreds of jobs supported directly or indirectly, plus hunt clubs surrounding the Swamp. The Swamp provides ecosystem services of great economic values, including storm protection, water quality provisioning, support for nursery and habitat for commercial fishing species; and carbon storage, plus those hunt clubs depend on the Swamp. Any pollution of the Swamp or change in surface or groundwater levels could adversely affect not only ONWR and nearby areas, but also the Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) near Waycross, in Ware County, GA, and Stephen C. Foster State Park (SCFSP) in Charlton County, via Fargo in Clinch County. Visitors come from Jacksonville, Florida, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, and from much farther away to visit the Okefenokee Swamp. The Swamp is a treasure to the entire nation and the world.

The stigma of a strip mine next to the swamp could cause people to turn away, taking their dollars with them. Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?

Continue reading

Need EIS, public hearings –Okefenokee Swamp Park to USACE about titanium mine 2019-08-22

Excellent comments from Okefenokee Swamp Park, requesting at least three public hearings by the Army Corps, plus independent research, in addition to a full Environmental Impact Statement. When I received them from Dr. Clark last night, he asked me to circulate them widely; see also PDF.

[About OSP]
About OSP

Continue reading

Suwannee River Car Camping and Paddle 2019-02-15-17

Join us as we camp two nights and paddle the Upper Suwannee River, between the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Fargo, Georgia, around Griffis Fish Camp, on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

When: 4:00 PM, Friday, February 15, 2019, Camping, Griffis Fish Camp

Put In: Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Saturday, February 16, 2019, Griffis Fish Camp to Fargo Boat Ramp
Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Sunday, February 17, 2019, Suwannee River Sill to Griffis Camp

GPS: for Griffis Fish Camp: 30.782505, -82.4436

Take Out: Friday camping,
Saturday take out at Fargo,
Sunday take out at Griffis Camp.

Bring: a tow rope and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Fargo, Griffis, Sill, Maps

Continue reading

Okefenokee Campout and Paddle, Suwannee River, Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA, 2018-12-07-09

Camp two nights and paddle in the Okefenokee Swamp. We will camp Friday and Saturday at Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, Ga. This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp.

When: Friday through Sunday, December 7-9, 2018
9AM, Saturday, December 8, start paddling

Put In: Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA

GPS: 30.827659, -82.361819

Take Out: Stephen C. Foster State Park

Camping: Make your camp site reservation through Reserve America. Outing leader Shirley Kokidko has site #56. Let’s try to stay close together so we can share a camp fire and group meal Saturday evening. If you want to share a site and split the cost, post it in the comments (meetup, facebook, or blog) so others will see it. If you don’t want to camp, we want you to come out and join us for this paddle.

Paddling: Saturday morning we will meet at the marina at 9 a.m. to shuttle vehicles to the take out at the Sill. We will paddle from Billy’s Lake through the Narrows to the Sill. The current can be swift so you must be able to maneuver you boat around trees in a swift narrow stream. You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. The park rents canoes, kayaks and bicycles. There will be an optional paddle Sunday morning.

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. And trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

After dark: The park will have a telescope for star gazing Friday night, this is one of the darkest places in the Southeast due to a lack of light pollution in the Okefenokee Swamp. The park also offers a boat tour after dark on Saturday. Telephone reception is mostly non-existent in this remote location so be prepared to put the electronics away and plug into nature.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gretchen photographing Bret and Phil on the dock
Okefenokee Swamp, 2016-12-10

Continue reading

Kayak delivery to raffle winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gainesville, Florida, December 23, 2017 — Suwannee Riverkeeper met Chris Newton of Holly Hill, Florida, half way to Daytona Beach to deliver the kayak he won in a WWALS raffle. Back in October at Suwannee Hulaween, Chris got one raffle ticket, and that was the winning ticket. When the Riverkeeper called him, he wanted to know if someone had found his keys. When he heard what he was getting, “No way!” he said. But we found a way to get him the Trio-11 kayak generously donated by Malibu Kayaks.

For me?

For me?, Palmettos

Yes, Chris Newton of Holly Hill, Florida, yours was the winning raffle ticket we drew December 10, 2017 at Georgia’s Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp.

Chris didn’t answer when we called from the top of the Suwannee River.

When Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman met Chris and his crew halfway to Daytona Beach, in Gainesville, Florida, to deliver the kayak, they were still recounting the second call when Chris did answer. Continue reading