50th Anniversary

50th Logo courtesy of the Florida National Parks Association
Big Cypress 50th Anniversary Logo

50th Anniversary logo courtesy of the Florida National Parks Association

Big Cypress National Preserve turns 50 in 2024!

Our story begins and ends with Mr. Nathaniel P. Reed, an environmentalist who led conservation fights throughout Florida and was a major proponent of the creation of the preserve. A number of special-interest groups and Reed fought (and succeeded) to stop the creation of ‘The World’s Largest Jetport’, and to get Big Cypress designated as protected land. Reed went to Washington D.C. to watch Big Cypress National Preserve officially be signed into law and noticed that the Enabling Legislation of Big Cypress was on the bottom of the pile. Not content to be the second national preserve, he moved Big Cypress to the top of the stack and watched as Big Cypress became the first ever National Preserve in the National Park Service! Fifty years later, the preserve remains an outstanding place to experience the natural, scenic, and recreational wonders of South Florida!

Big Cypress National Preserve, protects tall strands of Bald Cypress, low-lying estuaries lined with Mangrove Trees, and everything in between! With only inches to differentiate between habitats, Big Cypress is known to be one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the country and protects almost 730,000 acres of land in Southwest Florida. With so much to do and see there is an adventure for people of all abilities!

As a Preserve, Big Cypress protects not only the land, but also the traditional uses of the land. That includes Off-Road Vehicle usage, hunting and fishing, traditional use and occupancy by the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes, private land ownership, prescribed fires and more! It is our responsibility to strike a balance between the natural and human agendas in order to protect this land, and its traditional uses for generations to come.

Throughout 2024, we invite you to celebrate with us and see first-hand what makes Big Cypress such an amazing place! Take a stroll on one of the four (4) boardwalks within the Preserve, take an Off-Road Vehicle into the backcountry, or get your feet wet on a swamp walk! No matter what you do, we know that you’ll find something that interests you!

Celebrate with Us!


20th thru 28th - National Parks Week
20th - National Jr. Ranger Day!: Entrance Fees waived at all National Park Sites


11th - Big Cypress's 50th Birthday!
Date TBD - Clyde Butcher's Swamp Celebration


(Tentatively) 7th - Swamp Heritage Festival
Ranger-Led Programs Begin


Date TBD - Entryway Sign Unveiling


BIG 50th Anniversary Trivia!

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    Big Thicket National Preserve 50th Logo

    Our Preserve Twin is Celebrating their 50th Year too!

    Did you know that Big Cypress is only one of two national preserves established on October 11, 1974? The other, Big Thicket National Preserve, protects the woods and waters of southeast Texas. Gently rising north from the Gulf Coastal Plain, this biodiverse landscape is home to meandering creeks and bayous, mazes of bald cypress and tupelo sloughs, dense stands of hardwoods, and tall longleaf pine forests. Water flows slowly through Big Thicket, where subtle differences in elevation create wet, muddy bogs alongside dry, sandy uplands. Life abounds here, including the unusual: four of North America’s five kinds of carnivorous plants inhabit the thicket’s wetlands.

    Big Thicket is an outdoor recreation destination covering over 113,000 acres of public land spread out over 15 preserve “units”. Here, visitors can hike 40 miles of trails, paddle on scenic waterways, camp in the backcountry, hunt for deer and hogs, and much more. Whether you want a pleasant stroll in the woods or an off-the-beaten-path adventure, you’ll find that there’s no place like Big Thicket!

    Looking for somewhere new to visit in 2024? Check out Big Thicket National Preserve!

    Last updated: April 22, 2024

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    33100 Tamiami Trail East
    Ochopee, FL 34141


    239 695-2000

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