Okefenokee Swamp nominated for UNESCO World Heritage site designation

Wetland in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: USFWS



On Friday, U.S. agencies announced that they will nominate Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge as a UNESCO World Heritage site. What would this historic designation mean for the Southeast Georgia swamp?

The refuge is 407 thousand acres, and provides refuge to endangered species, like the indigo snake and wood stork.

And now it could join a list of important American sites, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

“If successful, it will be the first and only Fish and Wildlife service property and national wildlife refuge to become a World Heritage site, so that is quite remarkable.”

Kim Bednarek is the executive director with the Okefenokee Swamp Park and Okefenokee Adventures.

“This is the culmination of a 40-year journey for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, really to be nominated by the Department of Interior and US Fish & Wildlife Service to take this next step towards inscription as a world heritage site.”

The designation doesn’t create any new rules or regulations. But Bednarek says the benefits to the surrounding community are immense.

“What follows the recognition as a World Heritage Site is heritage travel, and tourism, and sustainable development around these communities that are anchored by this incredible natural asset, which will now be recognized on the international stage.”

A final decision is expected to take years. Bednarek says they expect to make a submission to UNESCO in February 2025.


You may also like

Court sides with homeowner on insurance law

By: Jim Saunders ©2023 The News Service of Florida. All...

Tampa Bay shorebirds dealt with record heat this summer

Summer this year was one of the hottest on record...

The Scoop: WMNF Daily News Digest
The Scoop: Tues., November 28, 2023 Tampa Bay & Florida headlines by WMNF

LGBTQ+ inclusion Tampa and St. Petersburg recently scored perfect scores...

St. Pete cityscape
Tampa, St. Petersburg achieve perfect LGBTQ+ inclusion scores amidst statewide ’emergency’

Listen: Tampa and St. Petersburg recently scored perfect scores on...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram