Bike Trails of McIntosh County
These include the historic downtown and residential areas of Darien, the abandoned rice fields maintained as waterfowl refuges in the adjacent Altamaha Estuary and Harris Neck N.W.R. located on the north side of the county.
a) The Historic downtown area has bike trails that meander by the old squares with old live oaks and to the State Historic site, Fort King George. While some of the squares and homes are well maintained, many have fallen into neglect giving the area a feel for the past and the not too distant one.
Osprey, bald eagles, many kinds of ducks and water fowl as well as gators are found here year round.
With fresh water in the fields to the left and to the right, saltwater in the tidal river , this area has a diversity found in few other places.
Even in January, gators are found here in abundance.
The Georgia DNR has placed viewing towers in or near the rice fields to use binoculars to view the shy visitors to the ponds.
b) The old rice fields were developed using not only the African slave's labor but their knowledge for growing rice. After slavery was abolished, these rice farms were abandoned and became a rich resource for wildlife.
The Federal Gov't ( USFW) and the Georgia DNR purchased many of these old farms. Maintained as fresh water ponds for the migratory waterfowl, many native non-game species also frequent these ponds as well as invasive exotic species.
Unfortunately the DNR does little to control destructive species such as water hyacynth, the tallow tree and wild hog in these areas.
Dirt access roads as well as the dikes themselves become the roads by which we explore these areas on bikes or by foot to see vast numbers of birds and many other animals. The estuary is approx three miles across with a great variety of ponds and roads to explore for wildlife encounters.
Near by the rice fields their are some old growth cypress trees not harvested due to hurricane damage. While not the largest or oldest trees in the estuary, they are close and accessible. Easily worth the effort to visit them.
c) Harris Neck is a vast area previously farmed by the African-American population of McIntosh County until World War II when the Federal Gov't essentially confiscated the land for an emmergency air field. Afte the war, instead of returning the land to the original owners, the land was turned over to the US Fish and Wildlife to maintain as a refuge for migratory birds as well as other animals and plants.
Today, the old roads, runways and trails allow great access to one of the East Coast's premiere birding spots. While cars are allowed in much of the area, biking lets you hear and smell the area much of which is missed while 'driving by ' ...