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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Secondary Trail Closure

    Effective 8/1/2014, following the 60-day recreational ORV closure, only the designated primary trails in the backcountry will be open to recreational ORV use and access. All secondary trails will remain closed on an interim basis for an additional 60-days More »

History & Culture

Big Cypress history is as varied and colorful as the individuals who carved out a life for themselves in the swamp. For tens of thousands of years, humans have changed, and have been changed by, this place we call the Big Cypress Swamp. First the Calusa, followed by European explorers of the 1500s, then the Miccosukee, Seminole and other settlers to the area. The rugged terrain challenged many early travelers as they established the watery wilderness of the swamp as their home.

The completion of the Tamiami Trail in 1928, allowed for easy travel across the swamp for everyone who could afford a Model-T. The road spurred the first major land boom in south Florida causing development along the Atlantic coastal ridge to the east and eventually along the Gulf Coast to the west. For the most part the swamps in the center of south Florida remained wild.

Today, nearly one million people explore the Preserve each year. We learn from the stories of those who walked the swamp before us, allowing appreciation of their lasting footprints that led to conscious preservation.

 
 

Did You Know?

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Big Cypress National Preserve is big. REALLY BIG. With a total land area of 1,139 square miles, the state of Rhode Island can easily fit within its boundaries.