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 Lakes, Estuaries
and Lagoons

Natural Areas Directory


ERM Directory


Pondhawk Natural Area

Wetland Restoration

Region: Southern Palm Beach County

Size: 79 acres

Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset

1501 NW Spanish River Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (not a mailing address). The natural area is located on the east side of Military Trail between Yamato Road and Spanish River Boulevard.

Public Use Facilities:
Public use facilities include a bicycle rack, an educational kiosk, an accessible loop trail leading to a wildlife observation platform overlooking a restored wetland, and a natural-surface hiking trail. Parking is available at the adjacent Spanish River Library on the north side of Spanish River Boulevard; visitors can reach the entrance to the natural area via a multipurpose pathway along the shoreline of Blue Lake. Hiking, photography, wildlife viewing, and other passive recreation activities are be allowed on the site. There are no restroom facilities or drinking water on the natural area.

Site Information:
The natural area contains five native Florida ecosystems: scrub, scrubby flatwoods, mesic flatwoods, hydric hammock, and sawgrass slough. Historically, the natural area consisted of two sandy ridges bisected by a wide, shallow channel of water known as a slough. This slough was part of a wetland system that formed the headwaters of the Hillsboro River. In 1970, the natural was owned by IBM and a circular lake, known as Blue Lake, was excavated on the property. Restoration included removing invasive nonnative vegetation, restoring hydrology to historic wetland levels, and converting the western shoreline of Blue Lake to a more natural state. Approximately 50,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated from the former slough area to create 8-acres of wetland habitat. The excavated soil was used create a 12-foot-wide multiuse trail and littoral shelf along Blue Lake. This area was planted with 1700 native trees and plants.

Plant species observed on the site include groundnut, netted pawpaw, Florida scrub roseling, graceful sandmat, innocence, shortleaf gayfeather, golden polypody, laurel oak, lopsided Indiangrass, coontie, and Virginia chain fern.

Animal species observed on the site include green lynx spider, velvet ant, fiery skipper, pin-tailed pondhawk, eastern box turtle, Florida scrub lizard, eastern hog-nosed snake, spotted sandpiper, barred owl, black-throated blue warbler, ovenbird, and eastern spotted skunk.


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.


Pondhawk Map


Recreational Activities