• 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 »

  • 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 »

Commercial Use Authorization Application Schedule

Applications to provide visitor services for the Preserve will be accepted only during the months of September, December, March, and June. Applications will be accepted only during the open period. This is intended to expedite processing by Preserve staff as well as allowing for more focused attention for each activity.

Initially, applications will be accepted in sequenced groups according to activity in order to be most efficient in phasing in commercial activities in the Preserve. The first open month will be accepting applications for water-based visitor services, including canoe and kayak rentals, livery, and tours in appropriate management zones. The second open month will be accepting applications for bicycle-based activities, including bicycle rentals, livery, and tours in all appropriate preserve management zones. The third open month will be accepting applications for land based hiking tours, both one day and multi day operations in all appropriate preserve management zones. This may include birding, wildlife viewing, or photography tours on foot. Also during this open month, applications for providing firewood sales in campgrounds will be accepted. The fourth open month will be accepting applications for those revenue producing visitor services that are not accepted in the previous three open months.

This schedule may change at any time, if the number or complexity of applications calls for a different schedule, or if the Preserve is not prepared to manage a particular type of commercial visitor service.

Applications for permits will be accepted in groups according to the activity in order to be most efficient in phasing in commercial services within the Preserve.

The next period for accepting applications for commercial use authorization permits will be from September 1-30, 2012. During this open period, applications will be accepted for providing water based activities only. The non-refundable application fee is $100 per permit. Currently, the cost of a commercial use authorization within Big Cypress National Preserve is $850 per year, and each permit is valid for two years. The National Park Service is prohibited from offering a right of renewal for commercial use authorization permits.

Months To Accept Applications

Period 1


Period 2


Period 3


Period 4


Activities for which Commercial Use Authorization Permit Applications will be Accepted

Water based Visitor Services

Canoe & kayak rentals, tours, livery services

Bicycle based Visitor Services

Bicycle rentals, tours, & livery services in Bear Island and on Loop Road

Land based Hiking Guides & Tours

Day use & multi-day tours

Birding, wildlife, photography tours by foot

Firewood sales in campgrounds

Revenue Producing Visitor Services not Processed During Periods 1, 2, & 3

Hunting guides

Fishing guides

Buggy tours

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...