South Florida National Parks Trust

Press Room

< back
April 2, 2009
Contact: Don Finefrock,
Executive Director
South Florida National Parks Trust launches Big Cypress campaign
Trust donates first $25,000 toward campaign goal of $250,000

NAPLES (April 2, 2009) – The South Florida National Parks Trust announced the launch of a fund-raising campaign today to purchase exhibits for the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center now under construction on US 41 (Tamiami Trail) in Collier County.

The non-profit organization is seeking to raise $250,000 in partnership with the Big Cypress National Preserve to furnish the facility with a world-class collection of exhibits that will tell the story of the Big Cypress Swamp, sketch its history and describe its wildlife.

The Trust has committed the first $25,000 toward the fund-raising goal, Trust Chairman Carlos Arazoza announced during a reception at the Big Cypress Market Place in Naples.

“The South Florida National Parks Trust wants to create more opportunities for people – especially children – to experience the amazing diversity of the Western Everglades,” Arazoza said. “That’s what this project will do.”

The multi-agency center will introduce Collier County residents and visitors to the Big Cypress Region of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem; the public lands and recreational opportunities that exist here; and the environmental issues that confront this unique region of the Everglades.

Construction of the facility began in November and is scheduled to be completed this summer. The Welcome Center is located on the south side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) four miles east of State Route 29. When completed, the facility is expected to attract 250,000 visitors a year.

Construction of the facility is being funded with a $2 million federal transportation grant. The project also has received significant support from the Friends of Big Cypress and Clyde and Niki Butcher, who have donated solar panels to power the center and energy-efficient exterior lighting.

The Trust’s fund-raising campaign is being led by Patrick White, an attorney with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Naples, and Howard Isaacson, a senior financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

Donations in support of the project can be made to the SFNPT, 1390 South Dixie Highway, Suite 2203, Coral Gables, FL 33146. The Trust is the principal fund-raising organization for South Florida’s national parks. For more information about the Trust, visit