3 Days in Big Cypress National Preserve

About Big Cypress National Preserve

The Everglades encompass 4,000 square miles of Central and South Florida.  When a jetport was proposed to be built in the heart of them during the late 1960’s, conservationists, sportsmen, environmentalists, as well as the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian tribes fought to save the area.  As a result, the Big Cypress National Preserve was established in 1974.

Big Cypress was the first ever national preserve.  It was established in a compromise as advocates wanted to save the swamp but didn’t want it to be managed in as a restrictive manner as the National Parks.  Consequently, the preserve was formed to allow less restrictive activities such as hunting and to let Indian tribes keep their private land.

The Preserve is 729,000 acres, larger than Rhode Island.  It protects a freshwater swamp ecosystem which provides the largest intact acreage of habitat for the panthers of South Florida.  It hosts more than one million visitors a year, though I feel like most visitors to the Everglades spend their time on the 38-mile scenic drive in Everglades National Park.