Matheson Hammock Park and Rockdale Pineland Preserve
Miami Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands urban preserves
Leaders: Sonya Thompson, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Natural Areas Management & Tiffany Melvin, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
Start Time at Site: 9:00 AM
End Time at Site: 12:30 PM
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Lunch Included? No
Handicap Access: No
Miami-Dade's urban preserves are small remnants of once vast forests, but still contain a large diversity of plants, including rare species.
Begin at 9am at MATHESON HAMMOCK PARK. In 1930, William J. Matheson donated 85 acres of coastal tropical hardwood hammock to become the first public park in Dade County. Shortly afterwards, 420 acres of mangroves and hammock were added. The park opened in 1933, designed by landscape architect William Lyman Phillips. Civilian Conservation Corps crews used the native oolite limestone to construct buildings and walls to prevent fire from the once-surrounding pine rocklands from burning in the tropical hardwood hammock. Participants will walk through the main hammock trails with the Preserve Manager. The management of this preserve is funded by Miami-Dade County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program, in partnership with Miami-Dade Parks Department’s Natural Areas Management (NAM). If time permits, we will see the effects of sea level rise on the bicycle path through the mangroves.
At 10:30 drive to ROCKDALE PINELAND PRESERVE: Drive into the Rockdale gate on 14411 SW 92th Ave., Miami, FL 33176 just south of SW 144 St. This 36-acre pine rockland acquired by the EEL Program in 1995 was once slated for commercial development, but neighbors fought to preserve this area. An additional piece was purchased in 2002 and has been under restoration for 8 years. The preserve manager will point out the progressive restoration and federally endangered Carter's flax (Linum carteri var. carteri) and Deltoid spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea subsp. deltoidea). A large portion of the main pineland preserve burned in a wildfire in 2014, allowing the understory to flourish. We should see wildflowers and and shrubs in bloom. Easy/moderate, walking short distances on and off rocky paths.
12:30 - Many restaurants serving lunch are located on Highway US 1, just east of preserve.
What to Bring: Bring water and sun protection, wear closed shoes and long pants.
Directions to gathering point in parking lot north of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Miami, FL 33156 (lot is an immediate left from the driveway or loop around in front of the FTBG Visitor Center and come back to it): From Miccosukee Hotel, head south on Krome (.3 miles), then turn left onto SW 8th Street. Proceed 4 miles, then turn left onto SW 137th Av. Proceed 1.3 miles and keep right to merge onto FL-836 East (Dolphin Expy). Continue on Dolphin Expy (3 miles), then take exit FL-826 South (Palmetto Expy). Continue on Palmetto south, continuing onto Dixie Hwy (10.5 miles) to turn left onto SW 104th St. Continue east on SW 104th St. (2.2 miles), then turn right onto SW 57th Av. Continue (.8 mile) then turn left onto Old Cutler Rd. Continue (1.3 miles) on Cutler Rd. and take driveway into Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG), then an immediate left into the parking lot north of FTBG.
*Note: Click link (gathering point address above) for real-time directions from your location using Google Maps. If you would like to view directions from the Miccosukee Resort, enter the starting point as 500 SW 177th Ave, Miami, FL 33194. By allowing more time than you think is required, you can make your ride there more relaxing.
GPS Location: 25.67930 -80.27391 (location of yellow pin G on website map is offset for visibility, use Directions above or GPS Location)