For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -
The South Florida Water Management District and its partners in Martin County are enhancing public access to a unique recreation area known as Pal-Mar East. The main feature of the expansion is more public parking access for activities such as horseback riding and hiking.
"Expanding access to the site is a prime example of how this agency works with partners such as Martin County to enhance recreational access to conservation land so the public can enjoy the outdoors," said Kevin Powers, SFWMD governing board vice chairman.
Located near the Martin/Palm Beach County line, Pal-Mar East was acquired jointly by the district, Martin County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wetlands Reserve program in 2006.
Developing recreational access has been an important component of the overall management of the 2,800-acre property.
At Pal-Mar East, a trailhead was originally developed with a small parking lot for six vehicles. As the management area gained popularity, especially with equestrians, the water district and Martin County identified the need to expand the parking area to increase access for horse trailers. The parking extension is part of site improvements that include marking an approximately 7-mile hiking trail, which is underway.
This work is the result of a cooperative agreement between the district and Martin County to develop and maintain recreational amenities on public lands, including Pal-Mar East, Allapattah Flats and Cypress Creek.
Throughout South Florida, the district provides recreational access to its public lands, while continuing to manage them to support environmental restoration, water supply, water quality and flood control missions.
At present, the district owns 621,000 acres of land that are open to the public. Many of these properties are in their natural state or have enhancements such as picnic tables, informational kiosks, primitive campsites and hiking trails.
For more information on recreational opportunities throughout the district's 16-county region, visit www.sfwmd.gov/recreation.