Swamps and other wetlands in the American South have long been seen as a bane to the expansion of capitalist production. Historically, they presented a barrier to development that needed to be "improved" for agriculture or other industry and that improvement usually entailed logging, draining and converting them to be used as a means to generate profits. More recently the rise of environmentalism has deemed southern swamps worthy of environmental protection. This protection usually involves some level of state ownership or political control over land-use as well as ecological management that allows for the production of value by less directly destructive means. The last thirty years have seen the rise of swamp tourism as a method states and private landowners have used to "save nature by selling it". This new swamp space of tourism has helped to "re-brand" them as places worthy of visitation, but the creation of touristed swamps has not followed one standard narrative. This paper takes results from qualitative study of three different large cypress swamps, Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin, Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp and Texas' Caddo Lake to show that despite sharing similar social-environmental "personas", tourism in these three swamps is politically and economically developed in very different ways. They range from strictly regulated state tourist spaces to more explicitly private and competitive environmental enterprises. While large swamps have to some extent been "saved" by state protection and tourism, pressures to extract more economic value from public lands will inevitably produce greater privatization of swamp space.