Wassaw Island, one of Georgia's coastal barrier islands, was designated a National Wildlife Refuge on October 20, 1969. Unlike many of Georgia's Golden Isles, little development and few management practices have modified Wassaw's primitive character. The 10,053-acre refuge includes beaches with rolling dunes, maritime forest, and vast salt marshes. The refuge is bordered by the Wilmington River and Wassaw Sound on the north, the Vernon River and Ossabaw Sound on the South, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Salt marsh and tidal creeks separate the refuge from the mainland and Skidaway Island to the west.
Refuge visitors may enjoy recreational activities such as birdwatching, beachcombing, hiking and general nature studies. The 20 miles of dirt roads on Wassaw Island and seven miles of beach provides an ideal wildlife trail system for hikers. Birdwatching is particularly fruitful during the spring and fall migrations.
The island supports rookeries for egrets and herons, and a variety of wading birds are abundant in the summer months. In summer, telltale tracks on Wassaw's beach attest to nocturnal visits by the threatened loggerhead sea turtles which come ashore for egg laying and then return secretively to the sea.
Getting There . . .
Wassaw NWR is accessible only by boat. Both Wassaw and Pine Island are open to the public during daylight hours - other upland areas are closed. Transportation to the refuge must be arranged by the visitor. Several local marinas in the Savannah area (skidaway Island and Isle of Hope) and a public boat ramp adjacent to the Skidaway Island bridge can serve as launching sites for trips to Wassaw.