• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles

    Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »

  • 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 »

  • Campground Closure

    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. 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 »

Preserve Seeking Public Comments on Copeland Prairie Mitigation Plan Environmental Assessment

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Date: March 6, 2014
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107

The National Park Service is seeking public comments on a Copeland Prairie Mitigation Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) for Big Cypress National Preserve. The purpose of the plan is to enhance wetlands in a 325-acre portion of Copeland Prairie in the Preserve that would reverse much of the adverse hydrologic and ecological impact caused by construction of road-related infrastructure in the last century. This project is required by state and federal permits as mitigation for wetland impacts from stabilization of off-road vehicle (ORV) trails elsewhere in the Preserve, in accordance with the Preserve's recreational ORV management plan.

The EA analyzes the impacts of two alternatives: 
Alternative 1 - No Action - Continue Current Management 
Under alternative 1 current management of two culverts under Birdon Road and canal plugs in Birdon Canal would continue. Minimal maintenance would be conducted and no impediments to sheet flow would be removed. 

Alternative 2 – Copeland Prairie Wetlands Mitigation – Preferred Alternative
Under alternative 2 a 325-acre area of disturbed wetlands would be restored by 1) removing 12 acres of abandoned, elevated farm roads to enhance sheet flow, 2) rehabilitating and re-engineering two culverts under Birdon Road to increase water flow into the site, and 3) installing three fill plugs in Birdon and Diagonal canals to direct water into the culverts and halt saltwater intrusion. 

To review the EA, visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=49273. You can provide comments online or by mail. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. 

Comments by mail may be sent to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida 34141-1000. Comments are requested by April 5, 2014. Once the comment period concludes, we will consider all comments submitted in the development of the final plan/EA.  

Did You Know?

Researchers gather data from a bear that was removed as a nuisance.

Do not feed wildlife within the preserve. A "fed bear is a dead bear." This bear was fed and eventually became a threat to visitor safety. Nuisance wildlife is sometimes removed, but typically does not survive.