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Contact: Ardrianna McLane, 239-695-1107
OCHOPEE – Effective immediately, high water and deteriorating road conditions have resulted in an emergency closure in Big Cypress National Preserve. To improve visitor safety and protect preserve resources, the closure will limit public access while water levels slowly subside.
On Loop Road, flowing water continues to rise over sections of the road creating hazardous and damaging driving conditions. All public and unauthorized traffic is advised to remain off Loop Road until conditions improve and the closure is lifted. The Loop Road closure includes all of Loop Road and subsidiary roads and trails between the Miami-Dade and Collier County line. The closure also includes access to Mitchell Landing and Pinecrest Campgrounds.
Midway Campground is closed due to higher than normal ground water levels. Current facilities at the campground are not suitable for public use. The public is encouraged to find alternate camping accommodations in the area.
Burns Lake Campground and Burns Lake ORV Trail Access are closed as current facilities are not suitable for public use. The public is encouraged to find alternate camping accommodations in the area. The nearest ORV Trail Access that would provide a similar experience is the Windmill Tram or Skillet Strand ORV Trails.
Water levels in the preserve typically peak in September and October. During this time, the swamp and higher elevation habitats become inundated with a shallow sheet of freshwater. Due to record June rains at the start of the wet season, and precipitation from Hurricane Irma, this year's annual crest of water has been higher and more prolonged than normal. Currently, water levels are about a half foot higher than normal for late October. Additional updates and changes in closures will be provided by press release.