After nearly $9 million worth of improvements, the rest area at Mile Marker 63 along Interestate 75 in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida is back in business.
Work on the rest area began in spring 2013 to add a larger restroom facility, upgrade the wastewater and water treatment plant, improve two recreational access areas adjacent to the Big Cypress National Preserve nature trails, and construct a public safety center. The design/build project increases the number of restroom facilities from 30 to 44, including the addition of four family restrooms. Each recreational area will accommodate up to 15 vehicles and 25 trucks or trailers. Improvements also include various site improvements such as lighting, landscaping, and resurfacing.
The new public safety center accommodates four to six Collier County EMS personnel, and will assist in reducing response times to incidents along Alligator Alley, according to a park release.
The facility provides parking and access into the Northeast Addition Lands of the Preserve. Visitors may park and hike directly into the backcountry from the parking facility.
At this time hunting and recreational off-road vehicle use are not allowed in this portion of the Preserve. Click the following links to learn where these recreational activities are currently allowed - Hunting,ORV Use.
The Florida National Scenic Trail, along with a few associated trails, may be accessed from this area. Visitors may also hike off trail, but this requires individuals be familiar with orienteering by map and compass or by the use of a GPS - be prepared.
Dispersed camping is allowed.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Entering the backcountry requires that you fill out a backcountry permit. Be aware that there are private properties in this area -- respect private property and do not trespass.
Wildlife fencing is installed along I-75 to minimize the threat of wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther, from getting on to the busy roadway. Be sure to close all gates behind you.