Category: big cypress national preserve

We know very little about the ancient people that once inhabited Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. Scant evidence reveals a culture known as the Calusa, who first ventured into this vast swamp over 4,500 years ago. In this sea of grass, they found a wetlands cornucopia, feasting on large amounts of fish, deer, shellfish, reptiles, plums, berries and more. First contact with European explorers led to conflict and disease. By the 1800s, the remaining Calusa were absorbed into the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. Today, archaeologists continue to roam this unique environment, looking for clues of a lost culture. Photo by National Park Service.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but cypress trees are an important part of Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. A cypress dome is a fascinating habitat. Forming over an underwater depression, the tallest trees grow in the deepest water and the smaller trees grow along the edge in the shallower water, giving the dome its shape. The trees’ wide bases help them absorb water and keep them stable in storms. Epiphytic plants attach themselves to the tree trunks, earning them the name of airplants. River otters and alligators make their homes here, too. It’s probably not a place you’d want to live, but the shade, colors and reflection are worth the visit. Photo by National Park Service.

Come for the sunrise and stay for the wildlife at Big Cypress National Preserve. The park is home to many mammals, birds and reptiles that are exciting to observe in their natural habitat. If you know where to look, it’s easy to spot Florida’s largest reptile: the American alligator. Photo by National Park Service.

The sun sinks behind the horizon, coloring the sky a bright orange before night falls in South Florida. Big Cypress National Preserve protects 729,000 acres of unique freshwater swamp, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals. From hardwood hammocks hiding rare Florida panthers to tidal estuaries teeming with birds and fish, there is so much to see in this wonderful place. Photo by National Park Service.

Want to escape the winter cold? South Florida offers some amazing public lands getaways. Don’t miss sunrise at Big Cypress National Preserve. The orange light shimmers on the wetlands as a terrific variety of wildlife greets the morning. You’ll forget all about the snow at home. Photo by National Park Service.

After significant damage caused by Hurricane Irma, staff and volunteers have been hard at work on clean-up and repairs at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida to get the preserve ready for the busy winter season. Facilities are beginning to reopen and soon visitors can enjoy paddling, hiking, hunting, fishing, biking and birdwatching in this amazing wetland. Photo by National Park Service.

There’s nothing quite like a wetlands sunrise. The morning colors sparkle across miles of still water while tall grasses wave in the breeze. Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida protects 729,000 acres of unique freshwater swamp, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals. From hardwood hammocks hiding rare Florida panthers to tidal estuaries teeming with birds and fish, there is so much to see in this wonderful place. Photo by National Park Service.

The beauty of nature is a joy we can all share. Every sunrise is a chance to reflect on how we are all connected to the world we live in. For tens of thousands of years, humans have changed, and have been changed by these lands and waters. At Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, first came the Calusa, followed by European explorers of the 1500s, then the Miccosukee, Seminole and other settlers to the area. The rugged terrain challenged many early travelers as they established the watery wilderness of the swamp as their home. Photo by National Park Service.