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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Karen Gustin announces the temporary closure of the Cypress Camp Trail in Bear Island, effective noon Friday, December 14. The NPS will be closing a portion of the Cypress Camp Trail (formerly the Yellow Trail) in order to stabilize sections of the trail that have widened excessively as a result of permitted recreational Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) traffic over the last year. The stabilization will require securing state and federal permits. This process involves coordinating with the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by accurately marking, measuring, and mapping the locations of the sections that need to be stabilized. Once that is completed, the permit request is submitted, and each agency has its own schedule for review, making this a process that usually takes many months.
In recent years, the Preserve has exercised adaptive management by adjusting its approach to stabilizing ORV trails by only improving specific trail locations that require the application of fill material in order to remain sustainable. Superintendent Gustin said "This approach has proven to be successful in maintaining the primitive backcountry experience our visitors look for while at the same time minimizing the impact to the resource. After a year of use, certain locations of the Cypress Camp Trail have widened excessively and now it is necessary to stabilize those specific locations in order to provide the ORV visitors a sustainable and clear trail route and to protect the resource."
This closure is expected to remain in effect until the Preserve secures the necessary permits and completes the stabilization effort. ORV Management Plan implementation efforts continue for other zones in the Preserve including Zone 4, Turner River, and Corndance Units. The ORV Plan implementation in each one of these units will eliminate dispersed ORV travel in Big Cypress National Preserve and will limit ORV use to designated trails only.
For map showing closed trail click here.