Description: Big Hammock Natural Area and WMA are located along the north bank of the Altamaha River. The WMA consists of 6,177 acres of primarily bottomland hardwoods with many oxbow lakes and sloughs. The Natural Area includes an adjoining 800-acre sand ridge with a variety of habitat types, ranging from a cypress/gum forest to a turkey oak/longleaf pine forest. The Natural Area is registered as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service because of its rare plants, animals, and unique qualities, including a large colony of the Georgia plume (Elliottia racemosa).
Viewing Information: Many wildlife species can be seen on the WMA and Natural Area. Songbird viewing is especially good in May and June when a variety is present in the areas. Late May and June is also the best time to view the showy white flowers of Georgia plume. One wading bird rookery containing white ibis, common egret, anhingas, and great blue herons exists on the WMA. Sightings of wood storks, Mississippi kites, swallow-tailed kites, and osprey are common. Sand hill reptiles such as the gopher tortoise, diamondback rattlesnake, and eastern indigo snake occur on the Natural Area. American alligators and various water snakes may be seen in many of the oxbow lakes on the WMA. Mammals that a visitor may encounter include white-tailed deer, raccoons, river otters, bobcats, feral hogs, and small mammals such as rabbits, gray and fox squirrels. The presence of a variety of small rodents is evidenced by their bones and hair in owl pellets, which can be found around the bases of cavity trees.
Road access may be limited at times on the WMA due to excessive rain or if the Altamaha River is at or above flood stage. A 1.3-mile hiking trail is located on the Natural Area and no vehicles are allowed in the Natural Area.
Directions: From Jesup, take GA Hwy. 169 north, apx. 24 miles. The WMA entrance will be just north of the Altamaha River on the right.
Management: Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division.
Closest Town: Glennville, GA
Site Notes: shooting range
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