Wilderness Eligibility Assessment initiated for Big Cypress National Preserve

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Date: September 12, 2014
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107

Superintendent Pedro Ramos announced today that Big Cypress National Preserve will initiate a wilderness eligibility assessment for all lands in the original Preserve as a part of the backcountry access plan and Environmental Impact Statement being prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

The national preserve first initiated public scoping for the backcountry access plan in the fall of 2013. "Public comments received during the scoping period recognized a need for the national preserve to identify areas eligible for Wilderness designation as a part of this planning effort to identify off-road vehicle secondary trails, non-motorized trails, and a camping management approach within the national preserve. This step is consistent with National Park Service policy and is necessary to ensure a thorough and defensible planning process," said Superintendent Ramos.

National Park Service lands are considered eligible for wilderness if they are at least 5,000 acres or of sufficient size to make practicable their preservation and use in an unimpaired condition, and if they possess wilderness characteristics (as identified in the Wilderness Act of 1964). The wilderness eligibility assessment process is anticipated to take four to six months and the final eligibility determination will be announced through an additional press release and by publication in the Federal Register.

A public scoping report summarizing the results of the public scoping period for the backcountry access plan has been posted to the project website at - https://parkplanning.nps.gov/bicyscopingreport0814

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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