Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area
Managed in cooperation with the National Park Service.
Big Cypress WMA consists of over 728,000 acres of the Big Cypress National Preserve. The Preserve spans parts of Collier, Dade, and Monroe counties and borders Everglades National Park, protecting the area's unique ecosystem. Big Cypress, which was the the first preserve in the National Park Service, was established in 1974 to protect water quality and to ensure the continuing ecological integrity of the area.
The name 'Big Cypress' refers to the extent of the area and not to the size of the trees. In fact, many of the trees within the Big Cypress are dwarf pond cypress. Areas of pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and freshwater marshes also abound. Both temperate and tropical flora and fauna are found throughout Big Cypress.
The Oasis Visitor Center is located on Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) mid-way between Naples and Miami. There are two driving tours, with abundant wildlife, that lead you through open prairies, cypress swamps, hammocks, and pinelands; Turner River Road (Route 839) and Loop Road (Route 94). Turner River Road is a dirt road which dead ends approximately 20 miles north of 41 with no access to I-75. Loop Road has access points at Monroe Station and Forty Mile Bend Check Station and runs south of Highway 41 for 23 miles (15 miles, dirt; eight miles, paved).
For hunting seasons and area regulations, view FWC's regulations summary brochure for Big Cypress WMA.
Fishing is permitted year-round. A Florida fishing license is required and can be purchased at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Recreational opportunities include hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, paddling, hiking, biking, camping and the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on designated trails. For more information, visit the National Park Service web page Big Cypress National Preserve.
Hiking trails of varying difficulty are located throughout Big Cypress, including over 30 miles of the Florida Trail. Bear Island is a great place to ride a bike and the Turner River Canoe Trail winds through a variety of South Florida scenic landscapes. Visiting Big Cypress is more pleasant in the winter when bugs are fewer and both temperature and water levels are lower.