Size: 34.27 acres
Habitat: Formerly known as the Jungle, the Highlands Scrub Natural Area consists of approximately 34.27 acres and is located in unincorporated Broward County east of and adjacent to North Dixie Highway just north of East Sample Road. Highlands Scrub is considered one of Broward’s last substantial remaining sand pine scrub communities. This rare type of community, unique to Florida, is one of the most imperiled in the state, and only two percent of such habitat remains in Broward County.
Vegetation: The “scrub” is home to many rare and endangered species of plants and animals. The site is characterized by loose white sand with a canopy of sand pine and scrub oak and a subcanopy of saw palmetto, small scrub oaks, gopher apple, and prickly pear cactus. Other groundcovers found in more open areas include jester lichen, scrub mint, deer moss, rosemary, pawpaw, and staggerbush.
Wildlife: Among the site’s wildlife are the five-lined skink, six-lined racerunner, gopher tortoise (a protected species), gray fox, northern cardinal, and migratory bird species.
Amenities: Site amenities include an 1,800-foot nature trail, a shelter, seating areas, interpretive areas, a covered information kiosk, picnic tables, and interpretive signage. Wildlife observation is encouraged, although bicycles, inline skates, skateboards, and motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trails. As with all natural area sites, pets are not allowed.
EcoAction Days (October through May): Volunteer workdays help keep our natural areas clear of garbage and invasive plants. They're held on the fourth Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. Closed-toe shoes are required, and long pants and long sleeves are suggested. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves, hats, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Ages 13 to 17 must have a parent or guardian's signature on the registration form prior to participating. Volunteers under the age of 13 may participate, but only if accompanied by a parent or guardian. High school students can use the hours from these workdays toward their required community service hours. Check the volunteer Web page for the latest workday registration form. Preregister by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
Natural Area Exploration Series (October through May): Hour long naturalist-led nature hikes to explore this sites unique flora and fauna. Sturdy closed-toe shoes, drinking water, long sleeves, long pants, and binoculars are recommended. For ages 3 and up. The fee is $5/person. Preregistration and prepayment are required by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.
Environmental and Scouting Programs: Getting people of all ages involved in the appreciation of nature is the focus of many of the programs at Highlands Scrub Natural Area. Opportunities include activities for boy and girl scouts, children's programs, school field trips, private group tours, and more. Call Katherine Hendrickson at 954-357-5113 for more details and to make reservations.
A Little History: The original site, purchased by the county through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond issue acquisition program, was later supplemented with additional acreage obtained through the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond Referendum. The site was placed on the Urban Wilderness Advisory Board’s inventory in 1996 as a candidate for Urban Wilderness Area designation. It will also serve as a trailhead for the proposed Dixie Greenway Trail.
Aerial image of Highlands Scrub Natural Area
The natural area is accessible from Broward County Transit Route #50.
Highlands Scrub Natural Area
4050 N. Dixie Hwy., Pompano Beach, FL 33064