Eriophora ravilla Eriophora ravilla Eriophora ravilla Eriophora ravilla Eriophora ravilla Military Trail Natural Area

Military Trail Natural Area

Broward County

4600 NW Ninth Avenue/Military Trail
Deerfield Beach


The size of Military Trail Natural Area is a mere 19.9 acres, but it is a precious 19.9 acres. It's one one of the few slices of scrub and scrubby flatwoods preserved in Broward County. And as we generally note when writing about places such as this, scrub and scrubby flatwoods are two of the rarest habitats in Florida. And that's why it's worth the hour or so to explore this place.

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.
Virtual Tour

Cover Photo: Military Trail Natural Area is a place of small things, which likely puts this kestrel at the top of the food chain, the apex predator. We spotted him patrolling the natural area as if this was his domain, and at least for a time it was.

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

Getting There ...
Military Trail Natural Area sits just west of I95 along Military Trail. From the south, exit at Sample Road; turn right onto Military. The natural area will be on your right. From the north, exit at Southwest 14th Street; turn left at Military. The natural area is on the left. NOTE: There is no parking lot.

Photo Gallery for Military Trail Natural Area

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.