Size: 19.9 acres
Habitat: The scrubby habitat dominating this site has become one of the rarest plant communities in Broward County. Since the Florida scrub was the highest and driest habitat in South Florida, development focused first in these areas as the region was colonized, leaving very little of the habitat intact. This site contains a mosaic of scrubby flatwoods, oak-dominated scrub, and sand pine scrub. A small remnant dome swamp is located on the north boundary.
Vegetation: The scrubby flatwoods canopy is dominated by slash pine, while sand pines dominate the sand pine scrub area. Myrtle oak, sand live oak, Chapman’s oak, hog plum, and saw palmetto are found throughout the site. Other plants found on site include largeflower false rosemary, netted pawpaw, wild pennyroyal, Feay’s palafox, and coastalplain staggerbush. A few bald cypress trees along the north boundary mark the location of the remnant dome swamp.
Wildlife: Among the wildlife recorded on site are the zebra swallowtail, eastern towhee, American kestrel, eastern phoebe, painted bunting, and gray fox. Several fossorial animals – meaning animals that are adapted to digging and living underground – also live within the site, including the gopher tortoise (a protected species), eastern glass lizard, six-lined racerunner, and ox beetle.
Amenities: Site amenities include benches and an unpaved nature trail just over half a mile in length. Wildlife observation is encouraged, although bicycles, inline skates, skateboards, and motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trails. As with all natural area sites, pets are not allowed.
EcoAction Days (October through May): Volunteer workdays help keep our natural areas clear of garbage and invasive plants. They're held on the fourth Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. Closed-toe shoes are required, and long pants and long sleeves are suggested. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves, hats, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Ages 13 to 17 must have a parent or guardian's signature on the registration form prior to participating. Volunteers under the age of 13 may participate, but only if accompanied by a parent or guardian. High school students can use the hours from these workdays toward their required community service hours. Check the volunteer Web page for the latest workday registration form. Preregister by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
A Little History: The site’s name reflects some of the history of the area. Military Trail was originally built as a dirt access road for soldiers during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). In 1890, the site was part of a larger land parcel deeded to the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company as payment for work on the Intracoastal Waterway. In 1897, the land parcel was sold to the company most commonly known as the Florida East Coast Railway Company, controlled by Henry Flagler. Broward County purchased the site through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond program, which was dedicated to preserving sites with significant habitat. The site was opened for the public’s enjoyment in 2011.
The natural area is accessible from Broward County Transit Route #34.