• 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 »

  • October ORV Advisory Committee Meeting Canceled

    The National Park Service (NPS) at Big Cypress National Preserve has canceled the previously scheduled Off-road Vehicle (ORV) Advisory Committee (ORVAC) meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, October 7. More »

Timeline of Historic Events

2500 BCE

Glades People move into South Florida

1513

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon makes first contact with American Indians in Florida

1819

Spain cedes Florida territory to the US for $5 million

1845

Florida becomes the 27th US state

1916

Organic Act establishing the National Park Service is enacted by Congress

1918

US 41 (Tamiami Trail) breaks ground connecting East and West Florida

1921

Town of Pinecrest, along Loop Road breaks ground with plans of it being the "next Miami," but never fully realized

1928

On April 26, US 41 (Tamiami Trail) officially opened

1928

Ernest F. Coe drafted a proposal to Senator Duncan Fletcher, and Congresswoman Ruth Bryan Owen introduced legislation for Everglades National Park, which included today's Big Cypress National Preserve

1936

Located at today's Monument Lake Campground, a Seminole conference, attended by approximately 275 Seminole Indians, Florida governor and other dignitaries met to discuss how the federal government could assist during the Great Depression, which they declined and asked to be left alone

1940s-1950s

The land within the national preserve's boundaries was heavily logged for its durable and rot-resitant cypress wood to be used for everything from the hulls of military vessels to bridges and railroad ties.

1947

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas publishes River of Grass, advocating for Everglades preservation

1947

Everglades National Park is established, minus the land comprised of today's Big Cypress National Preserve

1968

Everglades jetport breaks ground with plans of being the largest international airport in the world

1969

Leopold-Marshall Report officially released regarding the environmental impacts of the Everglades Jetport. Construction was subsequently halted after the first of six runways was completed, in 1970.

1970

Environmentalist Nathaniel Reed, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, and others advocate for establishment of Big Cypress National Preserve

1971

On November 23, President Richard Nixon releases a statement proposing the federal acquisition of the Big Cypress Swamp for a national reserve

1973

Big Cypress Conservation Act (Florida Statute 380.055) is passed by the House and Senate

1974

Congress passed bill and sent it to President Richard Nixon, authorizing the federal government to purchase Big Cypress National Preserve for $150 million.

1974

October 11, Big Cypress National Preserve is Established (Public Law 93-440), becoming America's first national preserve, through the leadership of President Gerald Ford

1988

Big Cypress National Preserve Addition Act (Public Law 100-301), adding roughly 130,000 acres to the national preserve

2000

Comprehensive Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan implemented

2010

Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center dedicated

2014

On October 11, Big Cypress National Preserve celebrates its 40th anniversary

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.