Big Cypress National Preserve’s backcountry volunteer program hosted its first “Friends and Family Day” on Sunday, March 3rd.
The event was established so that volunteers could bring their friends and family out to experience the park and to learn more about the benefits of the program by assisting with a cleanup project.
After traveling to the project site by swamp buggy, ATV, and UTVs, the volunteers spent the day removing large amounts of trash and debris from a former hunting camp destroyed by a recent wildfire. Among many other items, a full wagon-load of aluminum from the roof of the building was removed. The crew concentrated on removing as much metal as possible for recycling, and plans are to return to the camp in the next month to continue removing appliances, melted glass, and many hundreds of rusty nails that were stored in coffee cans throughout the camp structures.
When the site debris is completely removed, the area will be used as a backcountry destination for visitors seeking picnicking or primitive camping opportunities.
The backcountry volunteer program is going on its third year and has grown to 20 dedicated volunteers. Volunteers receive specialized training for the rigors of their work. Volunteers conduct trail maintenance and provide visitor assistance in the park’s vast backcountry while using off-road vehicles.