North Fort Myers, FL 33903
Prairie Pines Preserve includes approximately 17 miles of hiking and equestrian trails and a path for on-leash pet walking. This large preserve consists of many diverse native plant communities, including wet and mesic flatwoods, depression marshes, wet prairie and prairie hammock. Birds and wildlife commonly observed at this preserve include wood storks, red-headed woodpeckers and marsh rabbits.
When the 2,654 acres for this preserve was acquired, many of the native plant communities were disturbed due to a lack of fire and alteration of sheet flow patterns. Dense stands of melaleuca, an invasive exotic tree, have been logged. Controlling the spread of invasive exotic plants remains a primary management focus for this preserve. Prescribed burning, roller-chopping and mowing are also used to minimize the risk of wildfire due to heavy fuel loads caused by dense vegetation.
The public amenities, interpretive signage, and some of the exotics treatment at this preserve were made possible through a grant from the Florida Communities Trust.