• 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 »

Backcountry Camping Rules & Regulations

Except for the periods and locations indicated below, no camping gear can be left in the backcountry when the user is not actively camping and staying overnight at the campsite.

An individual may camp or leave camping gear unattended in backcountry areas of the Preserve, except for Zone 4, including the designated sites in the Bear Island campground, Gator Head and Pink Jeep campsites, for the length of the specific hunting season as follows:

  • Archery Season/Muzzle loading Season
  • General Gun Season
  • Spring Turkey Season

Backcountry camping in the Bear Island Unit is permitted only at designated campsites (The Gator Head, 9 sites and The Pink Jeep Trail, 9 sites).

Campers who leave equipment at the Bear Island, Gator Head and Pink Jeep Campgrounds in the Bear Island Unit will be required to pay the daily camping fee for the days their equipment occupies the site.

In Zone 4: airboat users must camp in designated campsites only (1-17); backcountry camping is allowed in other areas of Zone 4 (except the seaside sparrow closure area) when access is gained by foot or non-motorized vessel, and the campsite is located at least 1/2 mile from the Loop Road and 1/4 mile from any designated campsite or airboat trail; no personal property can be left in the backcountry (tents, grills, cookware, tables, bedding, etc.) anywhere in Zone 4 when the user is not actively camping and staying overnight at the campsite.

Tent camping is permitted in established campgrounds and in non-developed areas throughout the preserve, except as restricted in the Bear Island Unit and Zone 4. However, in non-developed areas such backcountry camping is prohibited within ½ mile of any developed area or established county or state roads.

Once the daily limit has been reached for each time period, no person, party, or organization may use another designated area for the remainder of that season.

No person shall be permitted to camp in the Preserve backcountry for more than 30 days total, per year.

Did You Know?

A great white heron scratches its neck. Notice the color of the legs.

The great white heron is very similar to the great white egret. However, look closely and you will see that the heron has yellow legs, while the egret has black legs. The great white heron is found only in south Florida in the United States. It can also be found on several caribbean islands.