October is Florida Greenways and Trails Month and all are invited to celebrate at the SWA’s Greenway Trail System, where there is something for everyone to explore.
The nearly five miles of trails that wind through the 300 acres of natural areas surrounding the SWA’s facilities at Palm Beach Renewable Energy Park, 7501 N. Jog Road in West Palm Beach, are teeming with adventure and wildlife. By taking a closer look along the trails, you may spot the evidence - tracks, trails or scat - that animal residents leave behind. They are drawn to this unique setting due to its diverse habitats: forestlike pine flatwoods, lakes, marshes and wet prairies. Many visitors see more than they expected in a very short walk.
One of the many listed species you might find is the Florida snail kite, so named because it almost exclusively eats apple snails. These birds have been roosting on the site of the SWA’s facilities long before the Jog Road landfill was constructed. When planning for the landfill in 1985, the SWA worked cooperatively with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Florida Department of Environmental Protection to preserve these natural areas and ensure the snail kite could thrive. This conservation area eventually became the SWA Greenway and Trail System.
In addition to listed species, visitors can witness several storied plant species thriving in the SWA Greenway Trail System. Many of plants that either provided ancient remedies or provide current medicines populate the area, including willow, saw palmetto and St. John’s wort.
Hiking is nice, but a treasure hunt is always awesome. As if breathtaking birds and peculiar plants are not enticing enough, there are also several geocaches hidden throughout the trails. Visit geocaching.com for clues to the SWA caches, and keep an eye out for the special SWA geocoins. Remember to CITO - cache in, trash out.
Looking for a spot to play basketball, ride a horse, fly a model airplane, or host a picnic? Dyer Park in Riviera Beach sits atop one of the SWA’s closed landfills. But you’d never know it by looking at the picturesque trails and sports fields.
The SWA is committed to ensuring the harmonious coexistence of industry and nature. So, if you’re only familiar with our industry side, check out the SWA Greenway Trail System during Florida Greenway and Trails Month to see a whole new side of the SWA.