Public Comment Sought for a New Preserve Backcountry Access Planning Effort

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Date: November 19, 2013
Contact: Bob Degross, 239-695-1107

The National Park Service (NPS), in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), plans to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in association with the preparation of a backcountry access plan for Big Cypress National Preserve. 

The purpose of the plan will be to provide off-road vehicle (ORV) secondary trails, non-motorized trails, and a camping management approach that protects the Preserve's natural and cultural resources while providing for public enjoyment. The plan will also establish a permanent route for the Florida National Scenic Trail and other hiking opportunities. 

The primary purpose of this plan will be to further clarify the Preserve's management approach as it relates to secondary ORV trails, camping, and other backcountry opportunities. The plan will be developed in accordance with the Preserve's enabling legislation, NPS policy, and all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

A scoping newsletter providing further details on the plan is available at

A scoping period during which the public, agencies, and other interested parties are invited to provide written input regarding backcountry access into the Preserve and the scope, issues, and alternatives to be addressed in the plan and the environmental process will be open for 45 days from today, 11/19/2013 through 01/02/2014. 

Following the completion of the scoping process, the NPS will begin developing draft alternatives for the backcountry access plan and EIS; this stage will likely begin in the spring of 2014. There will be opportunities to comment during the development of alternatives as well as during subsequent stages of the planning effort. Notifications will be sent out accordingly.

We welcome your initial written comments during the scoping period of this project. Please submit your comments online at or mail to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, FL 34141-1000. 

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

If you have questions, please contact Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107, e-mail us.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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