The scrub habitat that characterizes this 24.2-acre site represents one of the rarest and most ecologically sensitive communities in South Florida. Urban development has left less than two percent of Broward County’s original sand pine scrub community, making it a plant community that is difficult to recognize today.
Crystal Lake contains a variety of scrub plant species such as sand pine, several types of scrub oak, saw palmetto, and tallow-wood. Understory plants include rosemary, prickly pear cactus, gopher apple, scrub mint, and spike moss. Reindeer lichen, pawpaw, and staggerbush can be found in open areas.
Among the site’s resident wildlife are the common gray fox, five-lined skink, six-lined racerunner, zebra swallowtail butterfly, and gopher tortoise (a protected species).
Site amenities include a covered shelter, informational kiosk, nearly 2,300 feet of paved and unpaved trail, seating areas, and interpretive signage. 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 of 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.
This roughly 24-acre site abounds with learning opportunities for students of all ages. From outdoor laboratory experiments to group learning exercises, we can ensure that students receive the information they need while having a fun experience.
A Little History
The site was purchased through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond program, which was dedicated to preserving significant natural habitat. After acquisition, site restoration efforts were initiated, including large-scale trash removal, exotic plant eradication throughout, and placement of protective fencing to stop destructive entry. Thanks to these efforts, the site has been healing itself over time. A master plan for the site was approved by the Broward County Commission in February 2000 and construction began shortly thereafter; the site opened to the public on October 21, 2002.
Aerial image of Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub
The natural area is accessible from Broward County Transit Route #20.