Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Karen Gustin announced that effective Friday, August 19, 2005, the off-road vehicle (ORV) trails within the Preserve will reopen to permitted users. The trails are reopening after a sixty-day closure that began in June. The closure is required under the Preserve's ORV Management Plan to allow for a resting period of reduced ORV use within the area. Superintendent Gustin said, "With the reopening of the trail system, we hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable ORV season."
With high water conditions in many areas of South Florida, including within the Preserve, ORV operators should use precaution while traveling in areas with unimproved trails, as hidden obstacles such as deep potholes may exist.
The National Park Service staff will be monitoring trail conditions, water levels and wildlife behavior closely. ORV enthusiasts should be aware that future ORV and hunting closures of all or part of the Preserve may be necessary to protect resources that may be affected by high water. Additional news releases and web site postings will be issued in a timely manner.
Coinciding with the reopening of the trails will be the reopening of airboat trails in Zone 4 of the Preserve. Also, new for the 2005 / 2006 season, ORVers will find additional improvements to the Monroe North Trail (formerly Buckskin Trail) north of Monroe Station; Monument Trail connecting Monroe North and Concho Billie Trails; and Oasis Trail that runs north of the Oasis Visitor Center.
Visitors to the Preserve this fall will find that Midway Campground remains closed for facility improvements. The campground is scheduled to reopen in December of this year.
Preserve staff reminds visitors operating ORVs that all normal rules apply. Off-road vehicles and airboats must have valid permits and abide by all rules set forth in the ORV Guidelines provided at the time permits are purchased. For more information on accessing Big Cypress National Preserve by ORV, go to www.nps.gov/bicy for details on required permits, access points and trails system.