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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 3 the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of Big Cypress National Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 2 when recreational access will resume.
The Recreational Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan calls for a 60-day seasonal closure to allow a period free from resource pressures related to ORV use. The ORV closure within Big Cypress National Preserve was first instituted in 2002.
Landowners, and their guests, that hold special use permits to access private properties within the Preserve will retain continued access to property along approved routes.
Once the 60 day closure period is lifted on August 2, ORV trails will re-open with the exception of approximately 62 miles of secondary trails within the Turner River and Corn Dance Units of the Preserve. All secondary trails that remain closed after the 60 day closure period expires, will be subject to environmental review within the framework of the National Environmental Policy Act. Preserve Superintendent, Pedro Ramos, said "This closure is necessary in order to engage in careful environmental review of the impacts of these trails." He added "Re-opening of any of these trails will be subject to the outcomes of the environmental review, which will include the benefits of civic engagement and public input.
Updated maps of the designated trails within each unit of the Preserve can be found by clicking here.
The recreational closure for airboat use within Zone 4 of the Stairsteps Unit was implemented from 4/8/13 through 6/6/13. Since water levels have rebounded within Zone 4 recreational airboat access into the area will resume on 6/7. Zone 4 of the Stairsteps Unit allows for access via airboats only. The Bear Island, Turner River and Corn Dance Units, and Zones 2 and 3 of the Stairsteps Unit provide for access by specified, wheeled ORVs. The Preserve allows for ORV travel along designated trails only.