In a nutshell, nature is amazing; plants, animals, and natural creations are such a beautiful part of our everyday lives. And for enthusiasts in South Georgia, there is a special place where the wonders of the wetlands can be explored at will.
Located about 10 miles north of Valdosta, Grand Bay is a partnership between the Wildlife Resources Division and the Coastal Plains Regional Educational Services Agency (RESA) and is separated into two distinct parts. The Wildlife Management Area includes a three-mile trail into the woodlands and forest area and is a wonderful escape for hunters during respective seasons. Also included on the land is the Wetland Education Center; established in 1997, the area serves as an avenue to educate students and other enthusiasts about the beauty of the outdoors.
According to the attraction’s website, the mission of the Wetland Education Center is to “teach students about natural processes and relationships between plants and animals” so that they can “begin to feel a positive connection with the natural world and their place in caring for the environment.” Certified teachers are on hand for full days of instruction. From an educational standpoint, the center’s focus is on wetland ecology, plant identification, air quality, and plant adaptations.
“We work closely with the schools in the area,” says Clint Hon, Environmental Education Coordinator with Coastal Plains RESA. “The tours that are provided for students are age-appropriate so that everyone is able to receive an adequate lesson.”
In addition to the education center, at the end of the half-mile boardwalk, there is also a 54-foot observatory tower that patrons can enter during their visits. To its credit, Grand Bay features a greater variety of plants that any other ecosystem in the state of Georgia.
Camping, hiking, canoeing, other recreational uses are allowed year-round (unless otherwise noted at specific recreation sites). Families can bring items for picnics, and throughout the Wildlife Management Area, hunting is allowed during appropriate seasons as well.
Valdosta has just gone through a cold spell, but now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to get outside and explore the beauty of nature! Not only does being outdoors give you plenty to see and do; it also serves as a terrific way to get in shape, and if you’re in or near the Valdosta area, Grand Bay is an ideal place to experience the serenity of Lowndes County!
Grand Bay General Information
4661 Knights Academy Road
Valdosta, Georgia 31605
Phone: (229) 333-0052
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday)
Health-Life / March 2016
The Natural Wonders of Grand Bay
By James Washington
Photography by Lindsi Jones