• 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 »

Special Use Permits

Some outdoor activities require a special use permit. These activities include getting married at the Preserve, having a picnic with more than 50 people, commercial filming and photography, and athletic contests. A special use permit is also required for memorialization by the spreading of ashes (human remains).

For questions related to the application process specified below, please contact the special use permit coordiantor's office at 239-695-1117.

For all other press-related questions, please contact Bob DeGross, the Preserve's public information officer at 239-695-1107.


Special Use Permit Application
To apply for a special use permit for these activities, download an application, fill it out, and send it to:

Big Cypress National Preserve
33100 Tamiami Trail East
Ochopee, FL 34141
Attn: Special Use Permit Coordinator

Special instructions are listed on the special use permit information sheet; please read carefully. A completed application must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $100 in the form of a cashier's check or money order made payable to National Park Service.


A special use permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large and that require some degree of management from the National Park Service to protect resources and the public interest.
Some examples of special events that require permits are:

  • concerts
  • ceremonies
  • cultural programs

Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. Therefore, all first amendment activities require special use permits and the National Park Service may regulate the time, place, and manner in which they are conducted.
Some examples of special events that require permits are:

  • religious services
  • collecting signatures for petitions
  • public demonstrations or assemblies
  • distribution and/or sale of printed matter

Other activities may require permits if there is the potential for interference with visitor use, congestion of highly visited area, or possible impact on park resources.

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.