Size: West Creek Pineland in Coconut Creek is one of the smallest sites in Broward County Parks and Recreation’s natural areas system, a 7.43-acre tract consisting of two fragmented pineland parcels connecting the city's urban greenway trail system. As such, it is a welcome destination along this greenway, buffering visitors from Hillsboro Boulevard and showcasing the C-5 canal. The site is adjacent to two other county properties, Helene Klein Pineland Preserve and Saw Palmetto Natural Area. These three natural areas, although distinct and separate from one another, are critical for migratory bird species for refuge and for foraging and resting during long migration routes; they are similarly important for nonmigratory species.
Habitat: The site consists primarily of mesic flatwoods that are often seasonally wet but considered an upland natural community with mostly sandy soils and a hardpan top layer. This protected natural area is representative of the pine flatwood communities once common to the region prior to urban development. The bisecting C-5 canal provides a freshwater component to the landscape and introduces a variety of additional wildlife.
Wildlife: Resident and migratory birds such as the great horned owl, pileated and red-bellied woodpecker, belted kingfisher, great egret, great blue heron, anhinga, various wood warblers, and several species of hawks, osprey, and mottled ducks can be seen at West Creek. A variety of freshwater fish have been documented in the canal, including alligator gar and largemouth bass. Nearly 15 species of butterflies are prevalent throughout the site and are commonly seen from the greenway.
Vegetation: The characteristic tree at this site is the South Florida slash pine, with mixed understory of saw palmetto, American beautyberry, and a variety of native pineland grasses. Dead slash pines, also known as "snags," are critical for several woodpecker species, and birders like these areas for the opportunities they provide to see (and hear) these active and often vocal birds.
Amenities: As part of the Coconut Creek multiuse greenway trail system, a 6-foot-wide paved trail runs through the southern end of the property and features a 100-foot-long pedestrian bridge that crosses the C-5 canal. Interpretive signs, benches, and a large, shaded gazebo are provided for wildlife observation and resting along the greenway. Vantage points are exceptionally good along the bridge, and visitors are encouraged to bring along binoculars. This section of the greenway is referred to as the Long Pine Greenway.
A Little History: Nestled in the heart of the City of Coconut Creek's urban greenway trail system, this 7.43-acre site was purchased in 2004 using funds from the county's 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond Referendum. Florida Communities Trust, a state land acquisition grant program, was also a funding partner. The total cost of the natural area was almost $2.5 million. Although the site is representative of a typical mesic flatwoods habitat, it was undoubtedly forever changed by the introduction of the intricate South Florida canal and ditch systems in the early 1900s.
The natural area is accessible from Broward County Transit Routes #14, #31, and #48.
West Creek Pineland Natural Area
4800 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Coconut Creek, FL 33073