• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »

  • Campground Closure

    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »

  • Interstate 75 Mile Marker 63 Closure

    Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »

Birdon Road

Birdon Road today

The H.W. Bird Tomato Corporation packing facility, along Birdon Road.

Shortly after the Tamiami Trail was officially opened in 1928, two successful businessmen from Miami — James F. Jaudon and H.W. Bird, purchased approximately 2,500 acres of land in 1930, on the western end of Ochopee, Florida. This would be the beginning of the H.W. Bird Tomato Corporation, a sprawling tomato peeling and packing house.

To facilitate productivity they created an industry town consisting of homes and service buildings connected by a main road, traveling north off of the Tamiami Trail, named Birdon. The name was made by combining the last names Jaudon and Bird. At one time, the town was home to more than 340 residents.


Workers earned $1.25 a day while working in area tomato fields. They were paid in company-issued money called scrip, which was only good for purchases at the company store. As were the times, this was a common practice for remote businesses, where real money was scarce, like coal towns and ships on long voyages. The operation was successful for a few years, but like most of the businesses in the area, it suffered mightily from the Great Depression, and disappeared entirely in the 1940s.


Today, although the community of Birdon no longer exists, residents still live along State Road 841. The six-mile dirt road serves as great place to spot wildlife and to imagine the hustle and bustle that once existed here. Please respect private property while exploring the national preserve.

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Did You Know?

Bear in a tree.

Many do not expect to see bears in Florida. Actually, we have a healthy population within the state. Big Cypress is one of their ideal habitats in Southwest Florida. If camping in the area, be sure to keep your camp "bear proof."