Located in Northeastern North Carolina, the Dismal Swamp was first noted on a 1647 map as “Terra Bassa” (low land). One of the largest swamps in the United States, it has been reduced to less than one-third the 1.4 million acres it covered when first discovered. The swamp isolated the region from major arteries of trade. In 1790, the legislature agree to dig the 22-mile-long Dismal Swamp Canal to create a commerce highway between Chesapeake Bay and the Albemarle Sound. The Dismal Swamp Canal, which is the oldest artificial waterway in the nation, now serves as an alternate route along the Intracoastal Waterway, utilized mostly by private boaters.