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BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE

The Big Cypress National Preserve was set aside in 1974 to ensure the preservation, conservation, and protection of the natural scenic, floral and faunal, and recreational values of the Big Cypress Watershed. The importance of this watershed to the Everglades National Park was a major consideration for its establishment. The name Big Cypress does not refer to the size of the trees, but to the vast amount of cypress which cover about one-third of the 728,000 acre preserve.

VISITATION:
Highest from Christmas through Easter.

LOCATION:
Ochopee, Florida

ADDRESS:
Big Cypress National Preserve
HCR61, Box 110
Ochopee, Fl. 33943

TELEPHONE:
(941) 695-4111

OPERATING HOURS, SEASONS:
Daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year round.

CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
The climate is sub-tropical, with mild winters and hot, wet summers. Light weight clothing for hot temperatures is suggested. Long sleeves, pants, sturdy shoes, and bug repellant if hiking.

DIRECTIONS:
The visitor center is located on Tamiami Trail (U.S.41) approximately half-way between Naples and Miami.

TRANSPORTATION:
To Preserve: I-75, state road 29, and U.S. 41 all travel through the preserve. Miami International Airport services the area from the east coast, Ft. Myers International Airport from the west coast, and several private tour bus lines.

In Preserve: Personal vehicles. Privately owned off road vehicles can be used to access certain areas of the preserve after purchasing an O.R.V. permit. Bicycles and horses are allowed in designated areas.

FEES, COSTS, RATES:
No entrance fee. A yearly fee of $50.00 is charged for O.R.V. permit obtained at the visitor center. Most camping is free except a $4.00 fee at the Dona Drive campground.

FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
Visitor Center/Exhibits:
The visitor center offers a 15-minute movie about the preserve, a wildlife exhibit and book sales. Two roadside picnic areas are located along the Tamiami Trail.

Trails, Roads:
The preserve includes 31 miles of the Florida Trail which can be very wet in the rainy season. The Tree Snail Hammock Nature Trail is a short, self-guided trail located on Loop Road. Two scenic drives through the preserve provide leisurely wildlife viewing. The Loop Road is a 26-mile, single-lane, unimproved road beginning and ending on highway 41. Turner River Road and Birdon Road form a u-shaped, 17-mile graded-dirt drive. In the Bear Island area, swamp buggies, A.T.V.s and four-wheel drive vehicles with a permit are restricted to the designated improved trails. Bicycles are allowed on some of the improved trails in Bear Island and on all roads.

Programs/Activities:
During the winter season the preserve offers scheduled ranger-led wet walks, presentations in the visitor center and campfire programs at the campgrounds. In the summer season, environmental education programs are given to various summer schools and library groups in the Collier County area.

Lodging and camping facilities:
Eight primitive campgrounds are available to the public, seven of which are free of charge: Bear Island, Midway, Burns Lake, Monument, Loop Road, Pinecrest, and Mitchell's Landing. These campgrounds have no water or rest room facilities. The Dona Drive Campground has a $4.00 per night camping fee, a dump station with a $4.00 per vehicle charge, and a portable water supply. Several small motels, and private campgrounds can be found around the Everglades City area.

Food/supplies:
Restaurants and convenience stores are located in nearby Everglades City.

Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and
Opportunities:
Book sales in the visitor center are managed by the Florida National Parks and Monument Association.

Accessibility:
The visitor center is wheelchair accessible.

RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
Film at Visitor Center; birding and wildlife viewing on scenic drives; picnicking; O.R.V. use.

For information on archeology, visit SEAC

RESERVATIONS/PERMITS:
O.R.V. permits.

BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Allow at least two hours to drive the Loop Road, an hour for the Turner River - Birdon Road loop, and one-half hour for the visitor center. Traveling time from one side of the preserve to the other on U.S. 41 is about an hour.

VISITOR IMPACTS:
Information on closing of areas to O.R.V.s, hunting, and road conditions is provided at the visitor center.

ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
Everglades National Park has two entrances near the preserve. The Shark Valley entrance offers a visitor center and a two hour tram tour through the everglades interior run by a private concession. At the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, an hour and a half boat tour of the 10,000 Islands and canoe rentals are available through the private concession. Both offer ranger-led activities during the winter season. A half mile boardwalk through a cypress strand and a scenic drive are located in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve which shares the western border of the Big Cypress. Collier Seminole State Park is 40 miles west on U.S. 41 and offers canoeing, camping, hiking and a boat tour.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Call (941) 695-4111

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