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 Picture of a fox running through wildflower meadow in a Palm Beach County Natural Area

 

Welcome to Palm Beach County’s natural areas - protected pieces of South Florida’s natural heritage that maintain a diversity of plants and animals. 

In 1991 and 1999, voters approved a total of $250 million in bond funds for the purchase of lands for conservation purposes.  ERM manages more than 31,000 acres of these conservation lands that are the County’s last wild places open sunrise to sunset and are free for all to enjoy passive, nature-based activities such as hiking, bird watching, and environmental education.


Click here for a full page view of the map.


EXPLORING


Person taking photos in a Palm Beach County Natural Area 

Join ERM biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists as they guide you on a tour through a natural area.  You'll get a "behind-the-scenes" experience and learn about plants, animals, habitats, and so much more!  These events are FREE and offered seasonally.  Registration is required. 

Click here to see what is being offered for FALL 2019!! 


RESTORING


 Group of kayakers paddling in a Palm Bech County Natural Area

Prior to county acquisition, most of our natural areas suffered for decades from human impacts such as draining surface water into ditches and canals; filling in wetlands with dirt and other materials; mining; removing native vegetation and introducing invasive species. Once acquired, ERM works to bring these lands back to their natural state by removing invasive species, backfilling drainage ditches and canals, and restoring water levels.

MAINTAINING


Person walking/jogging along a paved accessible trail to a covered obseravation platform in a Palm Beach County Natural Area 

After the initial environmental restoration is complete, land managers begin to work on monitoring native plants and animals to document the recovery and health of the native habitats; providing public access; and the continued removal of invasive species and illegal trash that re-appear consistently on the properties. Periodic "prescribed" burns are conducted to maintain fire dependent habitats.


NATURAL FIRES


Picture of a controlled fire in a Palm Beach County Natural Area 

Prior to humans settling in South Florida, fire naturally occurred throughout our area on a regular basis from lighting strikes.
As a result, plants and animals became dependent on fire to provide:
  • Varied landscapes with open areas where sunlight can reach below tree tops
  • Reduced vegetation build up of dead and overcrowded understory
  • Nutrient-rich soils as minerals & compounds in dead and decomposing vegetation are released
  • Heat needed for seed germinate & dispersal - some native plants will only appear after a fire

PRESCRIBED BURN PROGRAM


 

ERM deploys “prescribed” fire based on a specific “prescription” of weather conditions for each different management unit within our natural areas.  Each prescription calls for a certain range of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, as well as many other environmental factors to ensure that fire is implemented in the safest way possible and in order to direct smoke away from smoke sensitive areas like major roads, schools, hospitals, etc. Activities related to the planning and implementation of prescribed burns include:

  • Creating and maintaining hundreds of miles of management access areas and firebreaks
  • Mechanically reducing fuel heights to reduce fire intensity
  • Attending appropriate fire training courses for initial and advanced training
  • Coordinating with state, county, and municipal fire agencies and departments
  • Providing advance notification to owners of surrounding property and smoke-sensitive entities
  • Preparing burn plans
  • Conducting each burn during daylight hours within one day
  • Conducting post-burn evaluations
  • Documenting wildfires and other fire-related incidents

 LIST OF PROPERTIES

The following properties are open
365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.

Properties with public use refers to having parking areas, entrance areas, and  marked trails unless otherwise noted.

 Sites Without Public Use

Equestrian & Multiuse Trails


Horseback riding is authorized on designated trails at:

Horseback riding and bicycling is authorized on designated multiuse trails within:

Get Involved - Stay Connected

Click here and select a topic you want to know more about!

Volunteer

Get ERM's notices on monthly events during the week and on weekends that help keep Natural Areas clean & healthy.  Students, get your community service hours right here!

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive ERM's Environmental Times.  This quarterly publication has great articles about Natural Areas and what is happening on them as well as other programs ERM oversees.

Natural Area Email Alerts

Sign up to get important email alerts about your natural areas!

Adopt a Natural Area 

Palm Beach County Natural Areas Logo Join  individuals, civic groups, and businesses interested in promoting and maintaining Palm Beach County's Natural Areas for a one year agreement that may be  renewed annually.  By adopting a site, you agree to perform specific tasks or services including but not limited to public education, information displays in public or business locations, monitoring, invasive plant removal, native planting and clean-up events.
To apply, call (561) 233-2400 or email erm-natural@pbcgov.com.

  Environmental Tips Hot Line

(561) 616-BIRD (2473)

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office LogoRelay information if you see something suspicious or a wildlife issue occurring on a natural area. Leave a message with: Name, Date, Time, Natural Area Site, and Detailed Description of Problem. If you want a deputy to return your call, leave your phone number OR you may remain anonymous.

In case of a true emergency, dial 911. 

Disclaimer  

All Palm Beach County natural areas are publicly-owned and are open for passive, natural resource-based recreational public uses such as hiking, bird watching, nature study and photography. Other recreational uses, as authorized under the Natural Areas Ordinance (Chapter 11, Article XI of the Palm Beach County Code), may be permitted in designated areas on a site-specific basis. Certain natural areas may be temporarily closed for environmental restoration activities and/or other public safety issues. Users should confirm that the natural area they plan to visit has existing public use facilities which match the users proposed activity; not all natural areas are readily accessible or have existing public use facilities such as a parking area, accessible trails, natural-surfaced walking paths, trail markers, and/or information kiosks.