Nestled on the northern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia, Laura S. Walker State Park is the first state park in Georgia to be named after a woman. Born in Milledgeville in 1861, Walker moved to Waycross in 1886, where she was dedicated to her community and the wildlife that surrounded it.
Walker, a teacher and writer who was the wife of former Waycross Mayor J. L. Walker, set in place several historical movements that helped shaped Waycross.
Walker had an interest in land conservation and forestry activities, as well as women’s rights, wildlife conservation and civil rights, according to Georgia State Parks division. Many agricultural developments and historical monuments erected in the area were because of her endeavors.
From its establishment in 1937 until 1941, Laura S. Walker State Park was recognized as a national park, after which it became the 13th state park in Georgia.
The 626-acre Waycross park sits offers visitors dozens of activities, including a beach and camping sites. Walker died in 1955 after battling a long illness.
“She would be very proud of the park,” said David Jordan, park manager. “She was a strong supporter of forestry.”