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Cultural Resource Assessment of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Following the 2007 Wildfires

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This report describes a pedestrian, non-collection, archaeological reconnaissance of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge performed by Southeastern Horizons, Inc., between June 18, and July 13, 2007. The project area included any part of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that burned during the 2007 wildfires. The post-burn assessment consisted of the following four tasks: (1) to document cultural resources impacted by the construction of new firebreaks and staging areas, (2) to ascertain post-bum conditions and the presence of cultural materials on accessible hammocks, (3) to visit seven recorded sites on interior upland hammocks and Trail Ridge to ascertain post-bum conditions and, (4) to assess the efficacy of the fire team's measures to pro e National Register listed Hebard Hunting Cabin on Floyds Island and the National Register eligible Chesser Homestead on Chesser Island. The reconnaissance covered 39.4 kilometers 4.5 miles) of new firebreaks and staging areas with a total pedestrian investigation of 80.5 person-kilometers (50 person-miles). During the firebreak-staging area aspect of the survey eight unrecorded sites and 25 isolated finds were discovered and documented. An investigation of three island hammocks revealed that the fire's effects on most of the cultural resources were minimal. However, the fire denuded slopes of a railroad tram through the Floyds Island Southwest Mound were found to be in need of stabilization. Three of the seven recorded archaeological sites were found to be unaffected by the fire. A fourth site, the Hebard Cypress Logging Camp on Billys Island, had suffered significant fire damage. A post-bum mitigation plan needs to be developed and implemented while the ground there is still bare. In spite of intensive searches, the other three selected sites were not found. Finally, the fire team's measures taken to protect the National Register listed Hebard Cabin on Floyds Island and the National Register. eligible Chesser Homestead on Chesser Island were effective, but the removal of the protective wrap on these structures was incomplete and needs to be corrected.