According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, over 400,000 visitors a year come to this exotic region in the southeastern tip of the State of Georgia. That is probably conservative. On the fringes of this boggy landscape that are outside federal property boundaries, there are farmsteads and hamlets, where residents have hunted and fished in the swamp for many generations. Most of the swamp was purchased by the Roosevelt Administration in 1936 to prevent the extinction of its wildlife and remaining stands of virgin Bald Cypress trees.
Tourists come from around the world to see the swamp's famous alligators, snakes, aquatic birds, cypress trees, giant longleaf pines, and Jurassic Period terrain. The visitor's center does have some exhibits related to the Native American occupation of the region but presents an incomplete story. Tourists do not see any evidence of Native American culture in the swamp as it appears today. They assume that its ancient inhabitants were few in number and left the region as soon as Europeans arrived on the scene.
Geologists believe that the swamp was formed at least 6-8,000 years ago when a sandy barrier island trapped water in a bay, as the South Atlantic coastline retreated eastward. Probably, for much of its existence, the swamp looked something like Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida. Over time, vegetation created islands in the shallow lake, upon which groves of trees could thrive; particularly Bald Cypress. Even today, some of the vegetative islands are so thin that they vibrate when walked on.