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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • 2014 Zone 4 Closure

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, April 7, 2013, the Zone 4 airboat access within Big Cypress National Preserve will be closed due to low water conditions. More »

  • Turner River Closure

    Turner River is closed due to low water conditions. It is advised that visitors consider paddling Halfway Creek as an alternative. More »

  • Campground Closure

    Beginning January 27, through August 28, Burns Lake Campground will be closed to camping. It will still be accessible for day use and backcountry access, however. 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

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Birdon Road today
 
Birdon-Packing-Company-1920s

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.

For more information, please click here.

Did You Know?

Hunters entering the Preserve on a swamp buggy. Photo courtesy of Jack Moller.

Big Cypress National Preserve was one of the first national preserves within the National Park System. As a preserve, Big Cypress manages for a broader range of recreational activities, including hunting and off-road vehicle access.