It’s probably no secret to most of you reading this, that I like to get in the car and travel our state – especially during the holiday season. In all those years of traveling, I realize I have neglected the area I actually live in – Broward County.
For years, I have been obsessed with hitting as many state parks as possible. That would generally take me out of southern Florida and into other parts of the state. But what I have discovered in 2020, as I have been unwilling to travel more than a short drive from my home (I am so COVID-focused, I even refrain from using public bathroom except in the most dire of circumstances and will not eat out with maybe 2 or 3 exceptions since March) is that Broward County’s natural areas are as well preserved as any in the state.
The number of natural areas remaining in a county more sprawlish and built-out than just about any in the southeastern United States are limited – but the county has since 1990 done a very good job of keeping these areas pristine – a commitment most other large urban counties have qutie frankly not made.
What has resulted is the few remaining natural protected areas in the county are pristine time pieces – incredibly well preserved looks into what southern Florida once looked like – and a welcome relief from the stress of being locked down at home while Covid rages through our state.
In the next few weeks, my goal is to hit every Broward County natural area, but for now I have only hit a few – below you’ll see a selection of photos from the parks I have visited thus far, below:
Tall Cypress in Coral Springs
This park exists in large part due to a campaign by Coral Springs High students in the late 1980’s to preserve what was left of the tall forests which had dominated eastern Coral Springs and Coconut Creek throughout of the early 1980’s. In the late 1980’s new developments such as Winston Park and Turtle Run popped up and the forests largely disappeared.
Fern Forest in Coconut Creek
This park is unique and one of the best urban parks in the southeastern United States in my opinion. The variation found within the park including what’s left of the historic Cypress Creek Slough which was connected to the Everglades makes it unique. This is a park where you can spend a day hiking different trails and the terrain is somewhat rockier than you’d expect in southern Florida.
Saw Palmetto and Helene Klein Pineland Preserve in Coconut Creek
These two parks are next to each other so they should be visited together – vegetation is different in each making them even more interesting.
Cypress Lake and Highlands scrub areas in Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach
Two separate scrub areas that are about a mile apart, both are well worth the visit. This is how the areas east of I-95 once looked.
Woodmont Natural Area in Tamarac
An area that is preserved within the larger Woodmont community.