Preserve to Modify Bear Island ORV Trail System

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Date: February 21, 2007
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-340-0123

Karen Gustin, Superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve, announced today the continued implementation of the National Park Service's Final Recreational Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan.

Effective February 28, approximately 30 miles of designated primary Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) trails that were provided for in the plan will now be open to the public within the Bear Island Unit of the Preserve. This trail configuration re-establishes eleven miles of trails, completing the designated trail system within Bear Island.

“The newly adapted trail configuration does not create 'new' trails but rather reopens trails that were closed prior to the creation of the ORV Plan. In addition, three miles of previously designated trails will be closed and allowed to be reclaimed to natural conditions." Gustin stated.

The changes to the trail system will improve recreational access for many that utilize the area, including ORV operators, hunters, hikers and bikers. The modified trail system will be marked and stabilized where necessary, to insure resource protection of areas adjacent to the trails.

ORV travel within the Bear Island Unit is only allowed along designated, marked trails. The types of vehicles allowed to operate within the unit include ATVs, street-legal 4x4s and swamp buggies.

For a detailed map of the modified trail system within the unit, visit the Oasis Visitor Center or the Preserve's website, by clicking here. Additionally, people may call the Preserve’s ORV Office at 239-695-1205 for more details.

One of the primary purposes of the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan is to minimize impacts to resources by eliminating dispersed use through the establishment of a designated trail system.

The Preserve will continue to implement the 2000 ORV Management Plan by reviewing current trail systems within other areas of the Preserve, marking and stabilizing trails, and ultimately moving to ORV operation only along designated trails by the year 2010. The Preserve’s ORV Management Plan was signed and approved by the Director of the National Park Service in 2000.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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