FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge says swamp buggies and other off-road vehicles are banned from trails in parts of Big Cypress National Preserve.
U.S. District Judge John E. Steele’s ruling this week overrules a 2007 decision by the National Park Service to open 25 miles of trails in the preserve along Interstate 75.
Steele said off-road vehicles affected the area’s soil, vegetation and wildlife. He also said the park service opened the trails without making a required environmental assessment.
The president of the Big Cypress Sportsmen’s Alliance tells the Sun Sentinel (http://sunsent.nl/NxYK0W ) that hunters had worked with the park service to open the trails and believed proper procedures were followed.
The preserve includes 729,000 acres of cypress swamp, wet prairie and pinelands. Hunters say off-road vehicles are necessary to access remote camps.
Information from: South Florida Sun Sentinel, http://www.sun sentinel.com