The Biscayne Times

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Linear Parks Make Healthy Hearts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
April 2018

Hoof it or roll it on Snake Creek Trail 

IParkPatrol_1n recent years, linear parks have become popular with South Florida cities interested in fulfilling commuting and exercise needs with public green spaces. The Miami area now has a superlative 6.5-mile path used by the community, of which two miles have been enjoyed for the past three decades: Snake Creek Trail.

The easternmost end of the trail is located in North Miami Beach at Snake Creek Park and Miami Drive, near the North Miami Beach Public Library (1601 NE 164th St.). The trail continues northwest along the Royal Glades Canal and S. Glades Drive, past I-95 and through Miami-Dade County’s Snake Creek Trail Park (adjacent to the Snake Creek Canal), and into Miami Gardens, ending at the Florida Turnpike near Hard Rock Stadium.

The paved path is part of a 100-foot-wide right-of-way that extends from the street to the water and passes through commercial areas, as well as neighborhoods, making it very accessible to the community.

In early March, the BT traveled the 2.6-mile measured Heart Health Walk portion of the trail in North Miami Beach that runs west and parallel to S. Glades Drive, crosses the canal at various points, and loops back east, adjacent to N. Glades Drive, to its starting point. Parking near this section can be found at various spots along the route, including the North Miami Beach Public Library, 169th Street and NE 15th Avenue, and at NE 172nd Street.

ParkPatrol_2This time of year, locals and spring break tourists enjoy leisurely bike rides, inline skating, pleasure walks, and serious workouts of powerwalking and jogging. Heart Health Walk quarter-mile markers help exercise enthusiasts to track their progress. To prevent vehicles from entering the trail and endangering pedestrians, the city has installed oversized concrete curbs approximately 12 inches high along most of S. Glades Drive adjacent to the right-of-way.

According to Julio Magrisso, assistant director of the City of North Miami Beach Parks and R.E.C. Department, the city maintains the grounds along the canal within city limits, while the water is maintained, treated, and managed by South Florida Water Management. Snake Creek Canal and Royal Glades Canal were created to control flooding in the area, but they are also used for recreational purposes by fishermen and kayakers.

Many species of water fowl can be observed in and around the banks of the canal, including Egyptian goose and Muscovy duck with their young, white ibis, gulls, terns, and American coot.

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According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, no breeding pairs of Egyptian goose (a non-native species) had ever been reported in Miami-Dade. Carli Segelson of FWC Division of Habitat and Species Conservation was notified of the sighting, confirmed with photographs, and forwarded the information to FWC biologists who work with non-native species.

Other birds, such as turkey vultures, purple grackles, mourning doves, and domestic pigeons, are also regulars on the trail, as are green iguana and eastern gray squirrels. Signs are posted in the area warning visitors not to feed the ducks or pigeons, as they’ve become somewhat of a nuisance by defecating along the canal banks.

Mature hardwoods, palms, silver dollar, gumbo limbo, umbrella, sea grape, and various flowering trees, including Hong Kong orchid, provide plenty of shade and beauty throughout the long stretch of trail. Numerous compact wooden picnic shelters are welcome pit stops beside the canal, and active visitors hit the Game Time Parcourse Fit Circuit stations. Small park play areas, such as the Barry Schreiber Promenade Tot Lot on the south side of the canal and the Columbia Tot Lot on the north side of the canal, are popular with the youngest of trail travelers.

ParkPatrol_4North Miami Beach offers several canal crossover points, connecting its two waterfront sides of the Snake Creek Trail. East-end trail users travel over the Harry Cohen Walk Bridge or the NE 15th Avenue Bridge; at NE 176th Terrace, one can cross the Columbia Park Pedestrian Bridge; Miami Gardens Drive is the final bridge and westernmost edge of the North Miami Beach section of the trail. Once over the water, walkers and bicyclists can loop back east adjacent to N. Glades Drive to complete the 2.6-mile Heart Health Walk, as a ladies’ fitness group does there on a regular basis. In March, North Miami Beach held its three-hour Bike Ride in the 305 event along the route.

The city does a fine job of keeping the grass mowed, trees trimmed and mulched, and canal banks relatively litter free by providing ample garbage receptacles, but it does fail to keep hard-to-come-by pet waste stations stocked with plastic bags, even as it posts signs warning dog owners of maximum $500 fines for those who fail to pick up poop.

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The stretch of trail running from the library to the NE 15th Avenue Bridge is slightly less attended to, but west of that, it is very well maintained. Assistant director Magrisso adds that the city has repaired and installed new asphalt along the route as needed, and regularly keeps up with the landscaping.

Before 2013, Snake Creek Trail was a mere two miles long. There is planning for future extension of the trail going west past the Florida Turnpike to US 27, and east to Biscayne Boulevard and beyond -- an additional 11.5 miles to make it a full 18-mile long trail.

In 2014, a nationwide Rails-to-Trails Conservancy research project studied pedestrian and bike traffic patterns for urban planning. Snake Creek Trail was one of 50 sites chosen for the study. A Trail Modeling and Assessment Platform (T-Map) counter on the trail’s eastern end showed 400 users a day -- both bicycle commuters and recreational users, with weekdays having the highest traffic volume. With possible development of commuter train stations in the area, use of the trail could dramatically increase.

Find other cool trails to explore in the United States by visiting www.traillink.com.

 

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Park_map

Snake Creek Trail
Snake Creek Park and
S. Glades Dr. North Miami
North Miami Beach,FL 33162
305-948-2957


Park Rating

palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-0


Hours
: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Picnic Tables: Yes
Barbecues: No
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Tennis Courts: No
Athletic fields: No
Kayak rentals: Yes
Dog park: Yes
Playground: Yes

 

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