Currently there is fire activity within the Preserve. More »
2013 Zone 4 Closure
Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, April 8, 2013, the Zone 4 airboat access within Big Cypress National Preserve will be closed due to low water conditions. 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 »
Beginning Monday, May 13 through Friday, August 16 camping will be available at the Midway Campground and the “loop” in the Bear Island Campground within Big Cypress National Preserve. All other established campgrounds will be closed. More »
A National Preserve - One Land, Many Uses
Big Cypress National Preserve is a diverse landscape, where one can see cypress and mangroves, alligators and panthers all in one day! Just like the diversity of the land, the National Park Service manages for a diversity of activities within the national preserve that national parks typically do not allow.
In the 1960s, plans for the world's largest Jetport, to be constructed in the heart of the Greater Everglades of south Florida, were unveiled. This project, and the anticipated development that would follow, spurred the incentive to protect the wilds of the vast Big Cypress Swamp. To prevent development of the Jetport, local conservationists, sportsmen, environmentalists, Miccosukees, Seminoles and many others set political and personal differences aside. The efforts of countless individuals and government officials prevailed when, On October 11, 1974, Big Cypress National Preserve was established as the nation's first national preserve.
The concept of a Preserve was born from an exercise in compromise. Everyone saw the importance of protecting the swamp, but many did not want this region merely added to nearby Everglades National Park that was created in the 1940s. Many felt that national parks were managed in a restrictive manner and access to the swamp would be lost. The resulting compromise created a new land management concept - a national preserve. An area that would be protected, but would also allow for specific activities that were described by Congress within the legislation that created the Preserve.
BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE'S ENABLING LEGISLATION ALLOWS FOR THE MANAGED USE OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES
Traditional and Customary Uses Allowed Within Big Cypress
Off Road Vehicle Use
Permits and vehicle inspections are required to explore the Preserve's network of off-road vehicle trails. For more information, visit the off-road vehicle office at the Oasis Visitor Center or contact them at 239-695-1205.
Traditional Use and Occupancy by the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes
Oil and Gas Exploration
Private Land Ownership
Big Cypress National Preserve allows for a wide range of activities that many National Park Service units do not manage for. Whether it be hunting, hiking, fishing, canoeing, "ORVing," or just plain relaxing, Big Cypress National Preserve offers to the public diverse opportunities to explore this diverse landscape. Imagine what the area may have become if the proposed airport was completed and a comprimise for protection was not found.
Other national preserves managed by the National Park Service:
* Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, Alaska
Did You Know?
Mermaid sightings have been reported by sailors throughout history who often blamed the part-woman, part-fish beings for leading them astray. But folklore experts believe that what those sailors were seeing were not mermaids, but rather air-breathing manatees, or their dugong relatives. More...