A promise made decades ago has finally been kept in Florida, where officials have approved the transfer of 29,000 acres of land to Big Cypress National Preserve.
The land, surrounded by the national preserve, was promised by state officials back in the 1970s when Big Cypress was designated as the first preserve in the National Park System. Last week state officials voted unanimously to transfer the acreage to the preserve.
"The state's action is welcomed as it largely fulfills the commitment by several Florida governors as well as the intent of past and current senators and congressmen representing the people of Florida," said Big Cypress Superintendent Pedro Ramos. "Our partnership with the State of Florida is strong and we are fully committed to working with agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Forestry as we continue to be good stewards of the land together and into the future."
Big Cypress was created by an act of Congress in 1974 and in full partnership with and through significant land contributions from the State of Florida. These are not the only lands pending transfer from the state, however. There are more than 10,000 acres of School Board lands remaining to be transferred and the NPS will continue working with the State of Florida towards that end.
Preserve officials recently released the final General Management Plan for the Addition Lands within Big Cypress. The state's action opens the door for the Park Service to move forward with the implementation of the plan, which allows for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, ORV use, hiking, and camping among others, Big Cypress officials said in a release.