Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Great Dismal Swamp

The name doesn’t sound very welcoming, but The Great Dismal Swamp is full of American History.  It is one of the few remaining natural gems on the East Coast.  The swamp’s impressive size and age, attracts visitors from everywhere.   Visitors from America’s rich history, including George Washington and Robert Frost were intrigued by The Great Dismal Swamp’s natural backdrop.  The emerald draping vines, songbirds, flora and fauna add to the swamps attraction.

The Great Dismal Swamp consists of 112,000 acres of forested wetlands.  There are only 2 natural lakes in VA and one of them is located in the heart of the swamp.  Lake Drummond is 3100 acres and is great for fishing and recreation.
Visitors that make their way to the swamp can enjoy many different activities.  These activities include hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, boating, photography, wildlife observation, camping, and picnicking.
Photo by heymarchetti

Photo by heymarchetti

Photo by heymarchetti

Hiking & Biking:
There are many unpaved roads in the swamp that provide the perfect opportunity to spend time hiking and biking.  The Washington Ditch and the Dismal Town Boardwalk are two recommended trails.
The swamp is home to one of the largest populations of Black Bears on the East Coast of the United States.  For 2 days in mid November, the swamp is open to bear hunting.  There is also a healthy population of white tailed deer.  Deer hunting is permitted in October and November during scheduled times.  You need a permit to hunt in the swamp.
Fishing & Boating:
Lake Drummond is open year round to boating and fishing.  There is a boat ramp which is public, where you can launch your vessel.  This launch is located just past Feeder Ditch.  Feeder Ditch is located on the Dismal Swamp Canal.  If your boat is too big, you will not be able to get around some of the water control structure.  Make sure you know this ahead of time.   Please note that boats on the lake are only permitted to be no more than 25 hp. Use of the lake is only during daylight hours, and swimming is not allowed.  A VA fishing license is required.
Photography & Wildlife Observation:
Due to the vastness of vegetation, birds, and mammals, The Great Dismal Swamp is a photographers playgrounds.  Whether photography is a hobby or a business, you will not be disappointed.  The swamp has 5 major forest types and numerous plant species.  There are also over 200 bird species that have been identified.  If you enjoy White-Tailed Deer, Black Bears, fish, butterflies, and reptiles, the swamp is home to all of them.
Camping & Picnicking:
You are not able to camp or use refuge lands for overnight use.  Lake Drummond Reservation is operated by the Army Corp of Engineers site and is available to use 24 hours.  This facility includes grassy area that you can use for camping.  You are able to use the fire rings, 2 picnic shelters with screens, tables and outdoor grills.  The restrooms are available and have running water from April through November.  Make sure you bring all of your needed items, including fire wood and drinking water.

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