Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland

Broward County

great blue heron
5589 NW 74th Place
Coconut Creek


Kristin Jacobs Natural Area Hillsboro Pineland is 56.3 acres set geologically speaking where the ancient Atlantic coastal ridge ended and the Everglades began. It's also the historic headwaters of both the Hillsboro River and Cypress Creek. Fittingly, it offers both wet and upland habitats, including remnants of a cypress dome swamp, wet meadow, depression marsh and pine flatwoods. From a habitat standpoint, it is among the most diverse natural areas in northern Broward County, which owns the site.

History: Until about 100 years ago, this area was part of the headwaters for the Hillsboro River, which flowed into what is now known as the Intracoastal Waterway. The Hillsboro River became no more during a push to drain the area for farming and other uses. Part of that push was the digging of the Hillsboro Canal, connecting the farms around Lake Okeechobee to the markets along the coast. The canal, which sits a short distance north of here, spelled the end of river.

Broward County bought the land using proceeds of a 1989 voter-approved bond issue for acquiring environmentally sensitive lands.

It was originally named the Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, but in April 2021, Broward County commissioners approved a name change to honor the late Kristin Jacobs, a former county commissioner, member of the Florida House of Representatives and environmental activist who had died a year earlier.

What You'll See: Species spotted include staggerbush, wild petunia, wild grape, coco plum, narrowleaf blue-eyed grass, southern fleabane, coreopsis, cabbage palm, saw palmetto, pond cypress trees, blue mist, slash pines, julia butterfly, queen butterfly and monarch butterfly.

Amenities: Kristin Jacobs has a large parking lot, two short hiking trails, the Prairie, which features a boardwalk and takes you through the wet habitats, and the Pineland, which true its name, takes you through the flatwoods. Both are handicapped accessible. There is are observation platforms restrooms, seating areas and drinking water. There are interpretive signs and benches along the trails.

Nearby: The Helene Klein Pineland Preserve, the Saw Palmetto Natural Area and the West Creek Pineland Natural Area are just to the south along Hillsboro Boulevard. The Lox Road entrance to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is on the west side of U.S. 441 just north of NW 74th Place.

Links: The Institute for Regional Conservation's inventory of plants found at Kristin Jacobs Natural Area Hillsboro Pinelands can be found here.

Cover Photo: The wet areas of Kristin Jacobs Natural Area are our favorites. They magnets for wildlife and habitat for myriad wildflowers. We took this photo of a great blue heron perched along a depression marsh way back during our first visit to this place in late winter 2014. No doubt he's waiting for a tasty meal to come his way.

Click on the photos below for full-sized images and detailed descriptions.

  • A Dry Walk Through Wet Land ...
    boardwalk wetland
  • A Restored Cypress Swamp ...
    cypress dome
  • Along the Pineland Trail ...
  • Flatwoods and an Open Understory ...
    pine flatwoods
Getting There ...
Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland sits on the west side of US 441 just north of Hillsboro Boulevard. To reach it from the east, take Hillsboro Boulevard to 441; turn left, the entrance is on the right about a quarter mile north.

Photo Gallery for Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland

Click on the photograph to see an enlarged image. Click on the name to read more about the species.

Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.