• 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 »

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?

Hunters entering the Preserve on a swamp buggy. Photo courtesy of Jack Moller.

Big Cypress National Preserve was one of the first national preserves within the National Park System. As a preserve, Big Cypress manages for a broader range of recreational activities, including hunting and off-road vehicle access.