WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) introduced his bicameral legislation to prevent the Biden Administration from finalizing any proposed federal wilderness designation for Florida’s Big Cypress Reserve. Members of the Florida delegation joined the effort. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) is leading companion legislation in the Senate.  

“In Florida, we know no one is better at preserving our state’s natural beauty than the locals who have lived on the land for generations,” said Rep. Franklin (R-FL), who represents Hendry and parts of Collier county in Congress. “This overreach by the Biden Administration is not only unnecessary to protect this land, it’s in vehement opposition to the will of the affected counties in my district, our state’s agencies, and local Tribal Nations. I thank Senator Scott for his leadership on this issue in the Senate and my Florida colleagues for joining our effort to protect Big Cyprus.” 

"Big Cypress National Preserve is an iconic fixture of our Southwest Florida community that must be protected from debilitating federal overreach. I proudly stand with my constituents, local stakeholders, and environmental officials from across the Sunshine State in demanding that the Biden administration does not proceed with any wilderness designation of the preserve. It is imperative that we block this disastrous and completely unnecessary potential action by out-of-touch bureaucrats in Washington,” said Rep. Byron Donalds (FL-19)

 “As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the Big Cypress National Preserve, it is crucial to continue protecting this outstanding natural and sacred land for future generations," said Rep. Díaz-Balart (R-FL). "As the first-ever National Preserve in the National Park Service, this land stands as one of the most ecologically diverse areas of our country. Any proposed wilderness designation by the Biden Administration would pose significant threats to the sacred cultural sites of the Miccosukee Tribe and Seminole Tribe, and way of life enjoyed by the Tribes, constituents and tourists who visit America’s first Preserve for camping, fishing, and hunting. As the Member of Congress representing a majority of the Preserve, I remain steadfast in my commitment to safeguarding its future.”

"I believe we have an obligation to be good stewards of our land and natural resources,” said Rep. Webster, who sits on the House Natural Resources Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee. “Big Cypress National Preserve is a unique and treasured ecosystem that requires constant effort to mitigate the spread of invasive species in the area. A federal wilderness designation would be devastating to the native species and biodiversity in the 720,000-acre preserve and restrict access to significant ceremonial grounds and areas of Florida’s Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. This legislation blocks unnecessary action from bureaucrats in Washington and ensures the protection of Big Cypress.” 

The Big Cypress National Preserve is 729,000 acres of vast Florida swamp, spanning Collier, Hendry and Broward counties. In compromise effort between the Seminole and Miccosukees, local sportsmen, environmentalists and Gladesmen to protect the region, Big Cypress was established by Congress in 1974 as our nation’s first national preserve. 

Big Cypress National Preserve is managed by The National Park Service, which manages  for hunting, cattle grazing, private land ownership, traditional and customary use by the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes. Any wilderness designation of Big Cypress by the Biden administration would not only prevent the local Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes from accessing their burial lands, but increase the spread of invasive species, destroy local small businesses and restrict wildfire response capabilities.

Last month, Rep. Franklin, along with Rep. Donalds, Diaz-Balart and 15 other Florida colleagues, wrote Interior Secretary Halland, urging the Biden administration to halt the proposed federal wilderness designation for the national preserve. 

Original Cosponsors include: Reps. Mario Diaz Balart (FL-26); Byron Donalds (FL-19); John Rutherford (FL-05); Carlos Gimenez (FL-28); Jared Moskowitz (FL-23); Greg Steube (FL-17); Daniel Webster (FL-11); Michael Waltz (FL-06); Andy Barr (KY-06).

Click here for bill text.