RALEIGH, N.C. — Swamps often ignite fear. Under creepy canopies of moss-draped cypress and stagnant water as dark as ink, gators lunge at ophidiophobes, mosquitoes thirst for anopheliphobes, and who isn’t afraid of poison sumac? Enter Alec Holland and Abby Arcane to confront more terrifying threats in the new TV series “Swamp Thing,” filmed in Wilmington and streaming on the WB’s DC Universe.
With Friday’s series premiere, Visit North Carolina offers a rational glimpse at the state’s swamplands to convince wary viewers that Alec (Andy Bean) and Abby (Crystal Reed) had ample reason to enter the waterlogged forest from which the Swamp Thing (Daniel Mears) emerges.
Who knows? You might find yourself moved to follow their lead and paddle at Dismal Swamp State Park, observe rare species in the Green Swamp, or visit Wilmington’s Greenfield Lake Park & Gardens, a swamp-fringed film location known for its birding trails and summer concerts.
Eight Facts About North Carolina Swamps
- The “North Carolina Gazetteer” contains about 400 swamp entries, from Aaron Swamp in Robeson County to Youngs Swamp in Sampson.
- The Great Dismal Swamp, which covers 750 square miles at the North Carolina-Virginia border, serves as a major black bear sanctuary. In earlier times it gave refuge to a runaway slave population. Writings by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Law Olmsted, Moses Grandy and others detail the extraordinary wetland.
- Travelers can reach the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center in South Mills by land or water. With its boardwalk and benches along the canal, the welcome center won recognition from ArchitecturalDigest.com as one of America’s most beautiful rest stops.
- American alligators, fox squirrels and Hessel’s hairstreak butterfly thrive in the Green Swamp, a National Natural Landmark about 15 miles inland from the Brunswick County beaches. Pine savannas, Venus flytraps and 13 other species of insect-eating plants, and 18 orchid species add to the remarkable diversity of the Green Swamp Preserve.
- The Lumber River, whose blackwater flows through miles of swamp forest, was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1998. Program naturalists note the river’s sensory engagement with the smell of native wisteria and the sounds of churning water as wood ducks take flight, the grunts of alligators, and the chirps of frogs and birds.
- On the Shallotte River at Ocean Isle Beach, the Swamp Park creates adventure via zipline, aerial park, guided ATV tours and swamp boat excursions. Rescued American alligators call enclosures at the park home. When the water freezes, they enter a state of brumation with their U-shaped snouts breaking the surface.
- It’s no surprise to find swampland at Hammocks Beach, Goose Creek, Merchants Millpond, Pettigrew and other state parks on the Coastal Plain. Swamps are also at home in the Piedmont at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines, the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge near Wadesboro and Boone’s Cave Park near Lexington.
- Greenfield Lake Park & Gardens in Wilmington offers a swamp experience alongside urban amenities such as tennis courts, a skate park and an amphitheater. Along the 4.8 miles of paved trails or from a kayak, nature lovers might spot snakebirds, great egrets, great blue herons, turtles and American alligators. Legend holds that the Swamp Thing has appeared here too!
About “Swamp Thing”:
With executive producers James Wan and Len Wiseman at the helm, “Swamp Thing” stars Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Derek Mears, Henderson Wade, Jennifer Beals and Virginia Madsen with Kevin Durand as the Floronic Man. The action follows Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus. She soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. The production was based at EUE/Screen Gems Studios. The 10-episode season debuts Friday on the WB’s DC Universe streaming service.