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National Parks Traveler Podcast

Dec 3, 2023

It’s been six years since an oil company headed out across the marl prairie of Big Cypress National Park with vehicles weighing as much as 30 tons to search for oil reserves. Signs of that work continue to show on the prairie, despite stringent National Park Service requirements for restoring the landscape after the searching was completed.

Located to the north of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress is a “split estate” – the Park Service owns the surface of the more than 720,000-acre landscape, while the mineral rights are privately owned – energy exploration and possible development were allowed in the preserve’s enabling legislation.

But how that exploration is allowed to be performed can be a matter of contention. While the National Park Service sounds mostly satisfied with the restoration work done by Burnett Oil, the National Parks Conservation Association strongly disagrees. The park advocacy group just released a 24-page report, “Speaking Up For The Swamp,” that points to remaining scars from that exploration work on the preserve.

We’ll be back in a minute with Melissa Abdo, NPCA’s Sun Coast regional redirector, to discuss that report.