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Natural Areas Directory

 
 

ERM Directory

 
 

Natural Areas

 

Natural Areas Program

One goal of the County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) is to preserve, monitor and maintain the County’s native biological communities, encouraging the highest possible environmental quality and best long-term stewardship practices. To reach that goal, ERM developed the County’s Natural Areas Program. In 1991 and 1999 Palm Beach County voters approved referendums that authorized the sale of a total of $250 million in bonds for the acquisition of lands for conservation purposes. Of this total, $100 million was earmarked for the purchase and conservation of agricultural lands in the County’s Agricultural Reserve. The remaining funds, together with state and municipal matching funds and mitigation dollars, were used to acquire more than 31,000 acres that are owned or leased by the County and managed as natural areas or greenways by ERM. The natural areas targeted for purchase were selected on the basis of their biological characteristics and were acquired to preserve the rare and diverse native ecosystems present on these sites and the endangered, threatened, and rare species of plants and animals that live there.

There are 19 natural areas with public use facilities, such as a small parking lot, hiking trails, and an informational kiosk. The natural areas are open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week, including holidays, for passive, natural resource-based recreation activities such as hiking, bird watching, nature study, and photography, as well as for environmental education and scientific research. Other recreation uses, such as horseback riding, bicycling, and fishing, are permitted in designated areas on a site-specific basis.

All Palm Beach County natural areas are publicly-owned and are open for passive, natural resource-based recreational public uses such as hiking, bird watching, nature study and photography. Other recreational uses, as authorized under the Natural Areas Ordinance (Chapter 11, Article XI of the Palm Beach County Code), may be permitted in designated areas on a site-specific basis. Certain natural areas may be temporarily closed for environmental restoration activities and/or other public safety issues. Users should confirm that the natural area they plan to visit has existing public use facilities which match the users proposed activity; not all natural areas are readily accessible or have existing public use facilities such as a parking area, accessible trails, natural-surfaced walking paths, trail markers, and/or information kiosks.

 

Current Highlights

 
  • Join us for the Pântano Trail Opening Event on August 5th, 9:00am [PDF]
  • Read the Summer Edition of Environmental Times [PDF]
  • Check out our new Palm Beach County Natural Areas Guide and plan your next visit [PDF]
  • Learn about natural beaches and wrack lines in this video from Audubon Florida [VIDEO]
  • Hot off the press and just in time for the New Year, the 2014 ERM Calendar [PDF]
  • Stay up to date on our projects with the Department's Monthly Status Reports. [LINK]