This scenic southern river flows through an interesting vegetative landscape which supports a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial fish and wildlife species. The river also provides for an abundance of bird species.
May 17, 1985. From Riverbend Park downstream to Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
The Loxahatchee River, a naturally meandering subtropical river, is unique in southeast Florida, because it remains in a largely undeveloped and pristine natural condition. The Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River is one of the best remaining example of a south Florida river-swamp. The diversity of plant species along the Loxahatchee River is remarkable. Tropical vegetation, such as wild coffee, myrsine, leather fern, and cocoplum, can be found along with water ash, maple, royal fern, and buttonbush which are considered to be examples of a more northern flora.
The narrow channel of the Northwest Fork of the river and its sinuous, meandering course under a canopy of majestic cypress trees offers the canoeist a challenging and interesting recreational experience. The diverse vegetation and habitats also offer an outstanding opportunity for amateur nature study.
The combination of climate, vegetation, and water bodies in the Loxahatchee River watershed has resulted in a high diversity of animal species. In 1965, 267 species, consisting of 169 genera and 78 families, were observed in and along the river and its estuary. Invertebrate and vertebrate aquatic animals are numerous in the marshes, lakes, and streams in the river area. The most prominent amphibious reptile is the American alligator, along with several snakes and the river’s namesake, turtles. ("Loxahatchee" is the Seminole word for turtle.) There are two mammals that frequent the Loxahatchee River on a regular basis—the endangered West Indian manatee and the river otter.