Merchants Millpond State Park - Great Dismal Swamp, North Carolina
I'm not entirely sure that Merchants Millpond is technically part of the Great Dismal Swamp. It is within 5 miles of the Great Dismal though and is the best place I know of to see old cypress swamp in northeastern NC if you don't have a boat. The best way to see the Great Dismal swamp is in a canoe. If you don't have one- Merchants Millpond State Park has a parking area and improved trails that encircle a 200 year old mill pond set in a mature cypress forest. A better way to see Merchants Millpond is also with a canoe. There is a boat launch at the parking area (I'm pretty sure motor boats are not allowed). However there's still plenty to do if you visit the park without a boat. Elevated walkways take you from the parking area through large cypress that grow out of the algae covered water. Spanish moss and other epiphytes are plentiful. Alligators supposedly live in the pond but I didn't see any. It's a great place to walk around and the best place I know of to see this unique ecosystem on foot. Being on dry land allows for the use of a tripod which made the near-infrared photos at the bottom of this page possible.
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