The Big Cypress Chapter of the Florida Trail Association serves Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. We are an outdoor adventure and eco-volunteering group. Our activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, biking, and paddling events throughout the year ranging from easy to strenuous, local to regional. We focus on outdoor activities in South Florida. Chartered in 1981, the Big Cypress Chapter of the Florida Trail Association has been home to some of the first and most long-term members of the Florida Trail Association, including Florida Trail founder Jim Kern. Designated as a National Scenic Trail, the Big Cypress section of the Florida Trail is part of the original trail walked by Jim Kern on his first exploratory hike in the mid-1960s and is one of the wildest segments of the Florida Trail. Our chapter strives to introduce and inform the ever changing inhabitants of the major metropolitan area of Miami and of the Florida Keys about the Florida Trail and discovering the beauty and wonder of natural Florida.The Big Cypress chapter maintains the southernmost portion of the Florida Trail in Big Cypress National Preserve, with assistance from the Alligator Amblers chapter, based in the Fort Myers-Naples area. The Florida Trail in Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the state’s most rugged places to hike. Winding through a haunting landscape of dwarf cypress rising from sawgrass, rare rocky islands topped with pine rocklands, colorful cypress sloughs festooned with dense bromeliads and orchids, and dense jungles of tall ferns. Slipping and sliding on wet marl and wading through ankle-to-knee deep dark water is a norm, and both day hikes and extended backpacking trips must be carefully planned, but the rewards are great: immersing yourself in one of Florida’s most diverse preserves, you truly get in touch with the wilderness. Membership on Meetup does not mean you are an FTA member. Please consider joining our state organization at www.floridatrail.org (http://www.floridatrail.org/) This will ensure that you receive our local and statewide e-newsletters as well as a quarterly Footprint newsletter from State. There are also certain activities that will only be available to FTA members. Activities are organized by authorized activity leaders. Participants in activities must sign an Assumption of Risk form and agree to accept personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of accompanying minors. Always contact the activity leader in advance for more information, to let them know you are attending, and to find out about any special requirements for a trip.