• 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 »

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?

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."