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    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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Hiker Dies in Preserve

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Date: May 12, 2009
Contact: Ed Clark, 239-695-1108

On Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 7:09 p.m., at the Oasis facility within Big Cypress National Preserve, Michael B. Sclawy-Adelman, 17, of Weston, Florida was pronounced dead by Collier County Emergency Medical Services Control. The exact cause of death is unknown at this time.

Earlier on Saturday morning Sclawy-Adelman embarked on a 20 mile hike with members of a Boy Scout group based out of Weston in an attempt to earn a merit badge towards becoming an Eagle Scout. The group consisted of two adult leaders and three scouts.

At approximately 5:56 p.m. Collier County Dispatch notified National Park Service (NPS) Dispatch that there was a person down on the Florida Trail north of US 41 and requested a joint rescue effort.

The NPS, Collier County Sheriff's Office and Collier County EMS mobilized a rescue effort at the Oasis facility. At approximately 6:38 p.m. two NPS Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) were helicoptered to the patient’s location within the Preserve backcountry, approximately 4 miles north of Oasis along the trail.

Upon arrival they found that CPR was in-progress performed by the scoutmaster. The NPS EMTs took over CPR, loaded the patient into a helicopter and transported him to the Oasis facility where Collier County EMS Medical Control pronounced him dead. Further details surrounding the incident continue to be investigated.

The Florida National Scenic Trail is a 1,400 mile trail that runs from Big Cypress National Preserve in the south to Gulf Islands National Seashore to the north, approximately 45.4 miles of the trail run though the Preserve. Many people consider the Preserve portion of the trail to be some of the most scenic, yet rugged.

Hiking conditions within the Preserve can be challenging at any time. During this time of year dry conditions combined with excessive heat require that hikers take plenty of water. In planning a long-range hike it is recommended that each hiker have one gallon of water per day at a minimum.

Did You Know?

Many large trees that did exist were harvested in the early 1900s.

There are few "big cypress" in Big Cypress National Preserve. The name actually refers to the great expanse of cypress forest, hundreds of thousands of acres, within the Big Cypress Swamp.