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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Secondary Trail Closure

    As part of a settlement agreement with plaintiffs related to the designation of secondary off-road vehicle trails, all secondary off-road vehicle trails are closed until further environmental review and analysis can be completed. More »

  • October Off-Road Vehicle Advisory Committee Meeting Cancelled

    The National Park Service at Big Cypress National Preserve has cancelled the off-road Vehicle Advisory Committee meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, October 7. More »

People

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.

Soon after the Tamiami Trail was completed in 1928, the logging industry began within the Big Cypress Swamp. Many of the people that were involved in the activity were of African American descent.

To learn more about their role read the report African Americans and the Sawmills of Big Cypress - A Brief History by Frank and Audrey Peterman. (large file 3.54 mbs)

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?

Many large trees that did exist were harvested in the early 1900s.

There are few "big cypress" in Big Cypress National Preserve. The name actually refers to the great expanse of cypress forest, hundreds of thousands of acres, within the Big Cypress Swamp.