Donalds, Florida Colleagues Demand Biden Admin Protect Big Cypress National Preserve

Donalds, Florida Colleagues Demand Biden Admin Protect Big Cypress National Preserve

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
April 15, 2024

In a rare show of bipartisanship, 18 Members of Congress from Florida – led by Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL) – have sent a letter to Secretary Deb Haaland (Department of the Interior) of the Biden administration to demand the protection of the Big Cypress National Preserve.

Rep. Donalds claims that any “wilderness designation” of the area by the Biden administration would “not only restrict the free movement of the local Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes, but it would supercharge the spread of invasive species, destroy local small businesses, and restrict wildfire response capabilities.”

He continued by stating that Big Cypress National Reserve “must be protected” from the federal government.

"Big Cypress National Preserve is an iconic fixture of our Southwest Florida community that must be protected from debilitating federal overreach," said Rep. Donalds. "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."

Furthermore, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) provided his support for the Native Peoples at risk from a potential move from the Biden administration.

“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.”

Additionally, Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said there are “legitimate concerns” about designating Big Cypress National Preserve as wilderness.

“There’s plenty of legitimate concerns about the impact of designating Big Cypress National Preserve as wilderness," said Rep. Moskowitz (D-FL). "Not only would it complicate our ability to manage invasive species, but it would also restrict access to tribes who have long called this area home. For those reasons, I would urge the Interior Department not to rush towards any new designation.”

Alongside Reps. Donalds, Díaz-Balart, and Moskowitz, the congressmen were joined in support by Representatives Aaron Bean (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Carlos Giménez (RFL), Laurel Lee (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Cory Mills (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), María Salazar (R-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Daniel Webster (R-FL).

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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