Open as of March 1, 2013 (although with some amenities still under development), Miramar Pineland is one of the most diverse sites in the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division: part regional park, part nature center, and part natural area. At approximately 157 acres, it is a unique combination of scrubby flatwoods to the north and restored wetlands and associated prairies to the south. Its slash pine forest, in the northern half, is one of the largest intake resources of its kind in the county. The two distinct vegetative communities are separated by fairly deep ravines that were cut when this site was once popular with off-road-vehicle enthusiasts.
Of the site’s original 97.62 acres, almost 70 were purchased from the Estate of Emil Morton in 1989, through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond Issue acquisition program; the remaining 27.64 acres were donated. Additional acreage was acquired in 2001, using a combination of funds from the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond program and grants from the Florida Communities Trust (FCT). The City of Miramar was a partner in the FCT project.
Since its purchase the land has had debris removed from it, and initial treatment and removal of exotic invasive plants has been completed, with the site now regularly monitored for exotics and treated again as needed. A slash pine forest with limited understory, grassy meadows, and bare sandy spots occupies a low ridge rising above the adjacent terrain in the northern portion of the area. The southern half of the site is a remnant sandy slough from the Snake Creek drainage system.
Miramar Pineland was placed on the Urban Wilderness Inventory in 1996.
Flora and Fauna: The site’s wildlife community resembles that of a scrub system, with its sandy soil and scrubby vegetation.
- Plants include common wild pine, giant wild pine, meadowbeauty, nodding clubmoss, pickerelweed, Everglades Key false buttonwood, wand goldenrod, buttonbush, wild coffee, giant orchid, seaside primrosewillow.
- Reptiles include green tree frogs, green anole lizards, eastern glass lizards, eastern coachwhip snakes, six-lined racerunner lizards.
- Butterfly species include blue dasher, soldier, giant swallowtail, cloudless sulphur, gulf fritillary, Julia, zebra longwing, white peacock.
- Birds, both resident and migratory, include great blue heron, tricolor heron, common moorhen, black-throated blue warbler, American kestrel, palm warbler, ovenbird, yellow-throated warbler, American redstart, red-tailed hawk, loggerhead shrike, osprey (designated as a Species of Special Concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).
Future Interpretive Center: Adjacent to the main parking lot and at the head of the Pineland Trail, this structure will include an assembly hall, interpretive displays, restrooms, and office and storage space.
Pineland Trail: Approximately 3,700 feet of walkway, a combination of concrete trail and elevated boardwalk with overlook, meanders from the main building through the pineland.
Wetland Trail & Boardwalk: A trail combining concrete path and aluminum boardwalk runs for approximately 2,400 feet along and through the park’s wetland mitigation project in the southeastern portion of the site.
Playground: One large, covered playground, located in an open area in the southeastern area of the park.
Splash Pad: An interactive children’s water-play area, located in the southeastern portion of the site.
Picnic Areas: Three open rental shelters are located adjacent to the smaller parking lot, restroom, and playground area. There is also a picnic area adjacent to the main parking lot.
Pets: No pets are allowed within the boundaries of the park.
Broward County Transit: The park is accessible via the University Breeze line.
A Little History: The land that would eventually become Miramar Pineland was platted in 1908 by the Everglades Sugar and Land Co., which was owned by Robert Parsell Davie (future namesake of the Town of Davie) and the Colorado sugar tycoon J.R. McKinney. As with much of the Everglades, this land was purchased from the state's Internal Improvement Fund, established in 1855 to distribute wetlands to anyone willing to drain and farm them.
Sugar was never actually farmed on the site, however, which was used instead for cattle farming when the tract later came under the ownership of Royal Diary Farms. The bare remains of a long-gone windmill and a concrete trough linger as reminders of the property's previous grazing activities.
The site has been greatly transformed over the last century. As part of the historical headwaters of Snake Creek, it was once covered with typical Everglades vegetation, including sawgrass and clumps of bayhead tree islands. It was also connected to an active Seminole canoe route that flowed east to settlements along the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Big Cypress area of the Everglades. With the onset of the drainage, however, the site shifted into a drier pineland community, characterized by large, sprawling pines that date back 70 to 80 years.
The grazing cattle also affected the landscape, keeping it fairly open and restricting the spread of the pines and other canopy species, as well as prohibiting the growth of a thick understory. It's also likely that new grasses for cattle feed were introduced, and ranchers might have pulled up vegetation such as saw palmetto to keep the understory clear for cattle.
3600 S. University Dr., Miramar, FL 33025