• Tour Guide/Interpretation • Visitor Information
Photo Courtesy of NPS
Orientation and Training Day
Where: Shark Valley Visitors Center, Everglades National Park, and Oasis Visitor Center, Big Cypress National Preserve
When: May 25th, 8:00am to 3:00pm.
Meet at the Shark Valley Visitor Center at 8:00 am, bring your bike, water, helmet and sunscreen. There will be a ride around the 15 mile loop, which will take approximately 2.5 hours. Then go to the Oasis Visitor Center for the presentation part of the training.
The Mobile Volunteer Patrol (MVP) is a group of volunteers who ride bicycle patrols in the Shark Valley and Pine Island Districts of Everglades National Park. The MVP is supervised by rangers from the Park’s Division of Visitor and Resource Protection (VRP), which is charged with enforcing the law and protecting public safety.
Overall, the members of the MVP serve as the VRP Rangers’ eyes and ears on the Park’s trails. More specifically, the MVP has three main responsibilities:
To assist Park rangers in protecting visitors to the Park;
To assist Park rangers in protecting the resources (the animals, plants and landscape) of the Park; and,
To enhance visitors’ enjoyment and appreciation of the park, by providing them with information and interpretative experiences.
The general duties of MVP members include:
To cycle the 15-mile Shark Valley Loop, wearing the MVP uniform of bright yellow bicycle jersey and black bicycle pants;
To carry a special MVP backpack containing first aid and bicycle repair gear, and to use that gear to assist visitors;
To carry water and sunscreen that can be provided to visitors who have exhausted their own supplies;
To carry an NPS radio, in order to be able to contact the Visitor’s Center and VRP rangers, as may be necessary.
To protect the Park’s visitors by advising them against dangerous behavior, and by reporting such behavior to VRP rangers, when visitors cannot be persuaded to stop;
To protect the Park’s resources from destructive behavior, such as harassing the wildlife or collecting plants, and by reporting such behavior to VRP rangers, when visitors cannot be persuaded to stop;
To enforce various federal, state and Park rules, like these examples:
Children under 16 years of age must wear helmets when riding bicycles;
Visitors are not permitted to walk or carry dogs on the Tram Trail; and,
Visitors are not permitted to fly drones over federal property, including the Park;
To assist rangers with interpretive programs, including the Everglades in the Morning, Full Moon and L-67 Canal Bike Rides; and,
At all times, to provide information to and answer questions for Park visitors.
To become a member of the MVP and individual must:
Be able to cycle the Shark Valley Tram Trail at a moderate pace (under two and a half hours);
Provide his or her own bicycle and helmet;
Be committed to participating one or two weekends per month throughout the year; and,
Must successfully complete an MVP Training Day.
The goal for the Patrol is to ultimately have enough members to patrol the Tram Trail twice daily, mornings and afternoons, seven days a week, throughout the winter season and eventually throughout the year. It has been estimated that it will take some seventy-five or eighty members to fill such a schedule.