Saw Palmetto Natural Area

Size: 11.72 acres, located within the City of Coconut Creek and purchased as two parcels: the 9.08-acre Site 18 (acquired in 2002) and the 2.64-acre Site 451 (acquired in 2005).

Habitat: The parcel previously known as Site 18 is a small section of what was once a large expanse of pine flatwoods typical of north central Broward County. Other parcels of the same pine flatwoods community are preserved as nearby Helene Klein Pineland Preserve, and Hillsboro Pineland and West Creek Pineland natural areas. Saw Palmetto is an upland site with sandy soil and widely scattered limestone outcroppings. The parcel previously known as Site 451 was a disturbed area, cleared and filled from past development. This open area is expected to serve as a hub for access to all the surrounding natural areas.
Vegetation: Primarily mesic flatwoods with slash pine and saw palmetto associations. Shrubs documented here include beautyberry and saltbush, and understory plants include snowberry, rabbit bells, cypress witchgrass, blackroot, and wild poinsettia. The area around the parking lot (disturbed from previous development) has been extensively planted with native flatwoods vegetation: slash pines, saw palmetto, gallberry, shiny blueberry, gopher apple, and tickseed.
Wildlife: A total of 59 species have been documented on the site, including one amphibian, four reptiles (gopher tortoise and green anole among them), one mammal (Eastern gray squirrel), and 33 species of birds, including chuck-will’s-widow, pileated woodpecker, Blackburnian warbler, and indigo bunting. Among the 20 species of butterfly are giant swallowtail, common buckeye, and fiery skipper.
Amenities: A circular concrete nature trail loops through the site, taking visitors into the woods and to the center of the natural area, where an elevated walkway leads to a covered observation platform. Other amenities include interpretive signage, two covered picnic tables, a bike rack, benches, and a drinking fountain.
A Little History: Like nearby Helene Klein Pineland Preserve and Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, Saw Palmetto is located within a mile of the Hillsboro Canal, which is part of South Florida’s intricate system of canals and ditches that forever changed the landscape when they were introduced in the early 1900s. Historical accounts of the region describe it as having primarily hydric vegetation, with dry pinelands scattered throughout. These sites all lie in the historic transition zone between the high-and-dry Atlantic Coastal Ridge of eastern Broward County and the now-drained Everglades of urbanized western Broward. Both parcels that make up Saw Palmetto were purchased with funds from the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond program; the purchase of Site 18 included additional funding from Florida Communities Trust, a state land acquisition program. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, through its Recreational Trails Program, helped pay for certain amenities such as the boardwalk, signage, etc.

Saw Palmetto Natural Area
4856 N.W. 71st Place, Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Phone: 954-357-5100
Fax: 954-357-5101