The Great Dismal Swamp

George Washington tried to drain it. Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired by the escaped slaves hiding in it. Loggers worked it for centuries. Yet it remains one of the least-known unspoiled spots in the East.


Vast and ancient, sprawling across the borders of Virginia and North Carolina, the Great Dismal Swamp is one of the largest natural areas on the East Coast, encompassing some 170 square miles. It is part of a series of federally protected wetlands that includes the Everglades, the Okefenokee, and the Congaree swamp of South Carolina, and like many of America’s great wilderness areas, it has been exploited, misused, and stripped of much of its natural wealth.

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