Mark Your Calendars: 10th Annual March for the Parks Visits Big Cypress National Preserve

If you're going to be in southern Florida in mid-month, you might consider celebrating the 10th Annual March for the Parks with a hike into Big Cypress National Preserve.

The walk, set for March 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will head down the Kirby Storter Boardwalk in the preserve, and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis is scheduled to attend to deliver the keynote address.

The walk is being sponsored by South Florida Community Partners, National Park Service, South Florida National Parks Trust, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Organizers of the walk say they expect hundreds of South Florida residents to participate in the 10th Annual March for Parks, which is an awareness event intended to expose South Florida’s diverse communities to its local national park sites. Along with exploring the Kirby Storter Boardwalk area, those in attendance will have an opportunity to celebrate the opening of the new Big Cypress Welcome Center and explore the nature and beauty of the Preserve, enjoy free transportation, guided park tours, educational activities, raffle drawings and demonstration of restoration efforts.

March for Parks is designed to encourage a new set of visitors to support national parks by making its visitor base just as diverse as the community that surrounds the vegetation and wildlife in the park. Although ethnic and racial groups such as Hispanics, African Americans, Haitians, and Caribbean Americans call South Florida home, many remain largely underrepresented from national parks as visitors, subjects of interpretation, and employees.

For more information about the 2010 March for Parks, please call (877) 858.7337.

Free transportation will be offered to area residents. Buses will be available at the following nine locations:

* Ft. Lauderdale Tri-Rail Station departing at 7:30 a.m. (I-95 & Broward Blvd.)

* Hollywood Tri-rail Station departing at 7:30 a.m. (I-95 & Hollywood Blvd)

* Golden Glades Park & Ride departing at 7:30 a.m. (Intersection of I-95 and SR 826)

* MLK Metrorail Station departing at 7:30 a.m. (6205 N.W. 27th Avenue)

* Notre Dame Catholic Church departing at 7:30 a.m. (110 N.E. 62nd Street)

* J.C. Bermudez Park departing at 7:30 a.m. (3000 N.W. 87th Avenue)

* Florida City, City Hall departing at 8:00 a.m. (404 W. Palm Drive)

* Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Immokalee departing 8:00 a.m. (207 S. 9th Street)

* Messiah Lutheran Church, Naples departing at 8:00 a.m. (5800 Golden Gate Parkway).