Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
2070 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025
Ossabaw Island is the third largest of Georgia’s Sea Islands and lies along the Atlantic Ocean about 20 miles south of Savannah. The island encompasses over 16,000 acres of tidal marshes and 9,000 acres of high ground. Ponds, salt water creeks, one river and many sloughs, inlets, and beaches make the high ground of Ossabaw a complex of small islands. Broad flat ridges and shallow depressions comprise the western part of Ossabaw (Pleistocene soils), while steep, parallel dune ridges mark the eastern part (Holocene soils).
After passing through many private owners, the State of Georgia acquired Ossabaw in 1978 through a gift/sale agreement from the Torrey family and the efforts of Eleanor Torrey West. At the time of the sale, it was stated under an Executive Order by governor Busbee “that Ossabaw Island be dedicated as a Heritage Preserve to protect, conserve, and preserve the natural and cultural resources of this Island for the benefit of present and future generations, and that Ossabaw Island shall only be used for natural, scientific, and cultural study, research and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation, and management of the Island’s ecosystem, under conditions carefully monitored and controlled by the Department of Natural Resources”.