Totaling nearly 920 acres, this large preserve consists of eight land parcels acquired between 2000 and 2011. The preserve consists of nine native plant communities, including mesic pine flatwoods, freshwater marshes, tidal swamp, hydric hammock and coastal grassland.
The most recent acquisition to this preserve is land on the eastern side of the island that extends through a mangrove forest to Matlacha Pass. Known as Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve - Bayside, a Mini Stewardship Plan was written to allow for restoration activities to occur on this land.
Prescribed burning is used at this preserve to minimize the risk of wildfire due to heavy fuel loads caused by dense vegetation. This activity also helps to improve habitat critical for the gopher tortoise, a state-listed threatened species.
This preserve includes a 1.5-mile marked hiking trail, as well as more than 6 miles of unmarked fire lines that may be hiked.
Restoration efforts are currently underway at Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve on the Bayside portion, which is located on the east side of Stringfellow Road. These efforts include a rehabilitation of the pasture and freshwater marsh enhancement. Nearly 70 acres of pasture previously used for cattle-grazing currently contains a majority of non-native plant species that support fewer native wildlife species. The goal of the pasture rehabilitation is to introduce key native plant species, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, to enhance the value of this area for native wildlife. The planned plant communities include temperate hardwood, pine flatwoods, herbaceous freshwater marsh and dry prairie. These plant communities will support species such as gopher tortoise and Eastern indigo snake, and provide foraging and nesting habitat for all varieties of wildlife and resident and migratory birds. The Bayside portion of the preserve also currently has a network of ditches that are adversely affecting the natural flow of water onsite. These ditches will be plugged to enhance the existing freshwater marsh. Additionally, the ditch receiving storm water from Stringfellow Road will be diverted through the created marsh to enhance the native habitats through sheet flow. This enhancement will also improve the quantity and quality of storm water discharging into the estuary located to the east of the marsh. The native planting for the pasture restoration is ongoing, and the freshwater marsh creation and ditch restoration is expected to begin in 2019-2020. For any questions regarding these restoration projects, please contact Tyler Marzella, Conservation 20/20 Land Stewardship Coordinator, at 239-220-7243.
Bird Watching, Geocaching, Hiking (Marked Trails), Hiking (Unmarked or Fire Lines), Nature Study/Photography
Pine Island Flatwoods Preserve Trail Map
Guided nature walks occur at this preserve. Download guided walks schedule