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Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

From Macon, I-75 to I-16 East to Exit 6, Route 23/129 South, then south
Daylight hours are best.
478-986-5441 2 hours
February 2011 Spring
$0-9 Macon Georgia
Website Nature Wildlife Refuges
First review
Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located six miles south of Macon between the Ocmulgee River and Interstate 16. The refuge is approximately 8,000 acres and preserves a mix of swamps, river floodplains and pine uplands. The refuge is an important wetland and a way station for migratory birds.

Bond Swamp was established in 1989 by the Nature Conservancy and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional land was added by the state of Georgia and other conservation groups. Approximately 200 species of birds live on or visit the refuge. Migratory songbirds are most abundant in the spring and fall, and waterfowl are present in winter. The area is a northern range limit for alligators; some live on the refuge.

The refuge is unstaffed, though a visitor center may be opened in the future. There are shelters with maps at two trailheads. Recreational options are limited and mainly include hiking and bird watching. Beaver Swamp Trail was muddy and difficult to follow. Longleaf Pine Trail was drier and better marked. Neither trail was very interesting, but Longleaf Pine Trail was a relaxing walk. Another option is Brown’s Mount Trail near Joe Brown Road. This path scales a 500 foot rise with views of Macon. Here is a link/map: Hunts are held in November and January so these are not good times for hiking at the refuge. Flies and mosquitoes can be heavy in summer, and ticks can be an issue too. Bond Swamp is important for wildlife, but recreationally there are better hiking options at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and richer educational opportunities at Ocmulgee National Monument.
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