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Frenchman's Forest Natural Area

 
Boardwalk through strand swamp

The Frenchman's Forest Natural Area Management Plan is being updated to show the existing public use facilities and site conditions. To see the draft update, click here. Public comments can be emailed to erm-natural@pbcgov.com, or can be heard at the September 19th NAMAC Meeting. For more information on the meeting time and place, click here.

Region: Northern Palm Beach County

Size: 172 acres

Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset

Location:
12201 Prosperity Farms Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 (not a mailing address). The main portion of the natural area is located on the west side of Prosperity Farms Road, one mile north of PGA Boulevard. The smaller Prosperity Oaks tract is located approximately 0.4 mile south of the main tract, and is accessible only by foot from a trailhead located on the west side of Prosperity Farms Road.

Public Use Facilities:
Facilities on the main portion of the site include a parking area for ten cars and two buses, a bicycle rack, a kiosk with educational exhibits, an accessible nature trail leading to a covered observation platform, and two natural-surface hiking trails, one with a 500-foot boardwalk through a cypress swamp. There are no restroom facilities or drinking water on the natural area. The Prosperity Oaks tract has natural-surface hiking trails and two kiosks with educational exhibits.

Site Information:
The natural area contains seven Florida native ecosystems: mesic flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, wet flatwoods, strand swamp, hydric hammock, mangrove swamp, and a small depression marsh. The tidal pond within the mangrove swamp was created in the 1960s, when soil was removed for use as fill for the construction of adjacent residential developments. Five thousand red mangrove seedlings were planted around the edge of the pond as part of a wetland restoration project. Nearly 400 trees and palms, including the cabbage palms lining the entrance road, were relocated to the natural area from a site approved for development. The natural area was purchased in 1995. State Preservation 2000 matching funds for the acquisition were provided by the Florida Communities Trust. The natural area is managed by Palm Beach County with assistance from the City of Palm Beach Gardens. It is part of the Northeast Everglades Natural Area.

Plants:
The wet, low-lying areas contain giant leather fern, pond apple, and pond cypress. The drier ridges contain firebush, blazing star, coastalplain staggerbush, and pricklypear. The Prosperity Oaks tract contains large live oaks and sabal palms with resurrection ferns and shoestring ferns on their trunks.

Wildlife:
Animals observed on the site include black pondhawk, pearl crescent, striped mullet, southern leopard frog, southeastern five-lined skink, eastern mud turtle, chuck-will's-widow, great horned owl, eastern gray squirrel, and bobcat.

Links:

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.

 

Frenchman's Forest Map

 
 

Recreational Activities

 

Northeast Everglades Natural Area