Big Cypress National Preserve

Workshops set up so public can offer ideas

 

scocking@MiamiHerald.com

Hikers, bikers, anglers, campers, hunters, off-road vehicle drivers, paddlers and others are invited to attend two public workshops this week to present their ideas for accessing the vast back country of the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The preserve began soliciting input on routing of hiking paths, secondary ORV trails and locations of campsites last fall. A primary goal is to reroute a portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which winds from the Oasis Visitor Center on Tamiami Trail north to the boundary of the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation in order to separate hikers from ORV users. Now officials want to get more specifics from users on where they would like to pursue their activities and suggestions for making that easier while balancing the need for conservation of natural resources.

Meetings will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center in Weston and Tuesday at Big Cypress Welcome Center on Tamiami Trail in Ochopee.

For those who cannot attend the meetings, public comments will be accepted until May 11.

Preserve spokesman Bob DeGross said planners will consider all the public comments and present a slate of alternatives by late summer or early fall for another round of feedback sessions. The back country access plan could be finalized by 2016. To learn more, visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=49334.

In other Big Cypress news, Zone 4 airboat access will be closed because of low water at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Pending higher water levels, the area will reopen June 6. Meanwhile, all other management units that allow wheeled ORV access will remain open through June 1.

On June 2, the annual 60-day closure to allow resources a break from motorized vehicles will begin in those areas and will reopen Aug. 1.

Landowners and their guests will be able to access their properties during the closure by following approved routes.

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Shane Hutto of Orlando holds up a large red snapper he caught off Port Canaveral with Cop Out Charters.

    Final red snapper of the season ready to be snapped up

    Only one weekend remains open in this summer’s eight-day red snapper recreational mini-season in federal South Atlantic waters. Anglers have from one minute after midnight Friday until midnight Saturday to bring home one fish per person of any size. After that, the season will be closed indefinitely.

  • Outdoors notebook

    This page is a regular weekly feature focusing on Florida outdoors adventures. Email scocking@MiamiHerald.com.

  • Fishing report

    Captain Dean Panos of Double D charters out of Keystone Point Marina reported large amounts of Sargasso weeds in the Gulf Stream continue to attract large numbers of dolphins. Most of the dolphins have been schoolies but a few have been more than 30pounds. The dolphins have been in depths from 400 feet of water out as far as 18 miles.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category