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The Great Dismal Swamp is a marshy area on the Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginiamarker and northeastern North Carolinamarker between Norfolk, Virginiamarker, and Elizabeth City, North Carolinamarker in the United Statesmarker. It is located in parts of southern Chesapeakemarker and Suffolkmarker in Virginia, as well as northern Gatesmarker, Pasquotankmarker, and Camdenmarker Counties in North Carolina. It is a southern swamp, one of many along the Atlantic Oceanmarker's coast which includes the Evergladesmarker and the Big Cypress Swampmarker in Floridamarker, the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgiamarker, the Congaree Swampmarker and Four Holes swamps of South Carolinamarker, and some of the Carolina bays in the Carolinas. Along the eastern edge runs the Dismal Swamp Canal, completed in 1805.

Essential to the swamp ecosystem are its water resources, native vegetative communities, and varied wildlife species. The Great Dismal Swamp's ecological significance and its wealth of history and lore make it a unique wilderness. It is one of the last large and wild areas remaining in the Eastern United States.

After centuries of logging and other human activities which were devastating the swamp's ecosystems, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refugemarker was created in 1973 when the Union Camp Corporation of Franklin, Virginiamarker donated 49,100 acres (200 km²) of land; the refuge was officially established through The Dismal Swamp Act of 1974.

The refuge consists of over 111,000 acres (500 km²) of forested wetlands. Lake Drummondmarker, a 3,100 acre (13 km²) natural lake, is located in the heart of the swamp. Outside the boundaries of the National Refuge, the state of North Carolinamarker has preserved and protected additional portions of the swamp, as the Great Dismal Swamp State Natural Area.

not truehunting used to balance some wildlife populations with available food supplies.

Today

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refugemarker is located not only between two states, but also between two eco-regions, allowing for a wide range of plant and animal species. Baldcypress, tupelo, maple, Atlantic white cypress, and pine are the predominant tree species found on the refuge and support the wildlife within. Many mammal species, including black bear, bobcat, otter, and weasel, along with over 70 species of reptiles and amphibians call the swamp home. More than 200 bird species can be seen at the swamp throughout the year, while 96 of those are known to nest on the refuge.

Lake Drummond is the middle of activity in the swamp today with many fishermen, sightseers, and boaters. Camping is not allowed on the refuge but is allowed on the Lake Drummond Reservation (Corps of Engineers' site) which is located at the Feeder Ditch spillway. Access to this site is by boat only.

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