Have you ever wondered about the trees around you? What are their names? What makes them each unique? What resources do they provide? How do they benefit our lives?
Our blog was created to help you "Meet A Tree", learn about how every tree is as unique and individual as you and I!
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Tree Destinations: Big Cypress National Preserve, Southwest Florida
Big Cypress National Preserve is located in Southwest Florida. The preserve houses some of the most diverse land in the region, it is made up of 729,000 acres of freshwater swamp ecosystem. All plants and animals residing/growing in the area are protected from unauthorized collection. The preserve was officially named/organized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, to protect the wildlife, the water quality, natural resources and the ecological integrity if the area. This preserve helps to support the health of the neighboring everglades and marine estuaries along the Florida coast.
Contrary to it's name, there are very few "Big Cypress" growing in the preserve, the name actually references the "big expanse" equaling hundreds of thousands of acres of cypress forest growing within the preserve. The preserve is a mixture of both temperate and tropical regions-each having it's own "residents". The preserve is home to many unique species of plants that remain protected by the natural habitat and stable ecosystem, such as the Red Mangrove, The Cardinal Airplant, The Ghost Orchid, and of course the Cypress for which it was named. There are also a very diverse group of animals (from feathered, to furry, to scaled) that call this area home. They include, The Mosquito Fish (I wish they lived here), Wood Storks, Anhingas, Egrets, Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Bobcats, Black Bears, Florida Panthers (highly endangered), River Otters, Big Cypress Fox Squirrels, Florida Manatees, Pythons, Water Moccasin, and the American Alligator.
The park offers guided tours from November - April, however you can plan an adventure on your own anytime. There are many self guided viewpoints, designated boardwalks/hiking areas and even scenic drive routes available year round. Due to it's very remote areas and sheer size the preserve does have limited cell phone reception so be sure to plan ahead! Currently there is no fee for entry, however there is a fee for off road vehicles, backwoods permits, research permits and some camping areas
Image Citations (All Photos): Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org - Node Affiliation: Bugwood - UGA