The History: Eons ago, this land was beachfront property. As the ocean receded, a coastal ridge remained, higher and drier than surrounding land. As this part of Florida became settled, scrubby land like this became prime real estate. In 1890, a large tract of land that includes what is now Military Trail Natural Area was deeded to the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Co. for work performed on the Intracoastal Waterway. Seven years later, Henry Flager's Florida East Coast Railroad became its owner. The FEC sold it to Broward County for use as a preserve in 1989. The natural area opened in 2011.
It's our guess, judging from the dominance of slash pines on the land that it was once cleared though never developed. Land managers say there is a remnant of a dome swamp on the north end of the property. We did see some cypress trees in the lots on the other side of the property line but nothing within the natural area itself.
And if you're curious, the name Military Trail dates back to the Second Seminole War, when a dirt road was cut to move troops. The modern Military Trail runs between Pompano Beach in the south and Jupiter in northern Palm Beach County.
What You'll See:Species spotted during our visits include osprey, black-and-white warbler, prairie warbler, mockingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, tarflower, rabbit bells, large-flower rosemary, blue mist, American pokeberry, love vine, poison ivy, scrub oak, sand pine, saw palmetto, halloween pennant and pondhawk dragonflies and red tassel flower.
Amenities: It's important to note that there is NO PARKING on site. When we've visited Military Trail, we've parked at a neighboring apartment complex WITH THE KIND PERMISSION of the managers. There is a map of the area at the entrance, a short, natural surface hiking trail, wide and well-maintained, and a bench. There is no water or restrooms.