• 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 »

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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The white-tailed deer has a vertical leap of nine feet! This is a useful skill to have when evading predators. How high can you jump?