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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
In a historic decision, the State of Florida Board of Trustees voted favorably today to transfer approximately 29,000 acres of State owned lands within the Big Cypress National Preserve to the National Park Service. This action delivers on a decades old promise and legislative action by the State of Florida to purchase and donate lands to the NPS in conjunction with the creation of the first preserve in the national park system.
"The state's action is welcomed as it largely fulfills the commitment by several Florida Governors as well as the intent of past and current Senators and Congressmen representing the people of Florida" said Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Pedro Ramos. "Our partnership with the State of Florida is strong and we are fully committed to working with agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Forestry as we continue to be good stewards of the land together and into the future" he added.
Big Cypress National Preserve was created by an act of Congress in 1974 and in full partnership with and through significant land contributions from the State of Florida. These are not the only lands pending transfer from the State of Florida. There are over 10,000 acres of School Board lands remaining to be transferred and the NPS will continue working with the State of Florida towards that end.
The NPS recently released the final General Management Plan for the Addition Lands within Big Cypress. The State's action opens the door for the NPS to move forward with the implementation of the plan which allows for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, ORV use, hiking, and camping among others.