Sherpa Guides > Georgia Coast & Okefenokee> Foreword


Water, sky, and land meet in ultimate triumph on the Georgia coast. Tides roll back and forth, and dunes increase and diminish at the whim of sea and air. On a sultry morning, herons and cranes work the blue mud at the marsh’s edge. Hot afternoon sun melts into golden evening, followed by a lonely moonlit night. On a nearby beach, a loggerhead turtle pulls herself to shore, deposits her eggs, and returns to sea.

These and other traces of life catch your eye—while others remain unnoticed. Experiences such as these have a way of changing who you are. Once you experience a sunrise on a Georgia beach, you are more aware of the dynamic forces of life that depend on the natural rhythms of our coastal environment. Once you understand these subtle rhythms, the more questionable man-made disturbances to the natural order become.

The Georgia Conservancy was founded in 1967 by people who understood this link: the link between the appreciation and enjoyment of nature and the reasons people become inspired to stand up in defense of it. Over the years, The Georgia Conservancy has worked hard to protect the resources that make the Georgia coast unique. Through education and advocacy, the Conservancy has helped secure protection for beaches and dunes, marshlands, endangered species, the Okefenokee Swamp, Cumberland Island National Seashore and Wilderness Area, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Sanctuary, the Ogeechee River, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness Area, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, and Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Our work continues to reflect a deep respect for nature and a solutions-oriented approach toward conserving resources and protecting sensitive ecosystems.

Guidebooks, like this excellent guide by Richard J. Lenz, provide a multitude of opportunities to cultivate a relationship with our natural world. I encourage all who come across the Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Georgia Coast and Okefenokee to use it immediately to become personally acquainted with the vast treasures that constitute our beloved coast and prized marshlands. Spread word of your discoveries to friends and family, as well as those in your communities and places of work. Encourage all to tread gently in their travels, so the beauty they experience may be preserved for future generations.

As Richard writes, “The environment doesn’t have a vote at the General Assembly of Georgia or in the U.S. Congress, unless someone represents it.” Let us actively instill in our leaders a sense that a sunrise on a Georgia beach, and all that falls under its domain, is of importance and worthy of our watchful protection.

—John Sibley, President, The Georgia Conservancy

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