Delaplane Preserve is a 51-acre nature preserve along the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, located at 6084 SW Gaines Avenue in Stuart, Florida. Access Delaplane Preserve from Gaines Avenue and SW Linden Street.


  • Six car parking facility

  • Picnic tables
  • Quarter mile nature trail
  • Fishing dock
  • Canoe/kayak launch

Native plant communities and wetlands were also restored as part of the project completed by the Martin County Public Works Department.

Delaplane Preserve is home to the gopher tortoise, a species that is “Threatened” in the state of Florida. Gopher tortoise live in well drained sandy areas with lots of grassy vegetation to eat.

They are considered to be a keystone species which means they are critical to the health of the areas where they are found. This is because they dig these large burrows that can be 30-40 feet in length and 20 feet deep. Over 360 different animal species use these burrows for shelter including endangered and threatened animals.

A gravel path at Deleplane Preserve

About the South Fork

The South Fork of the St. Lucie River extends south of Atlantic Ridge State Park, with Halpatiokee Park forming the west side of the river. Near the city of Stuart it connects to the North Fork. The St. Lucie River flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the St. Lucie Inlet.

Historically during high rainfall periods, there were periodic hydrological connections to the Loxahatchee River south. This river is one of the few blackwater streams in the state of Florida. 

Blackwater streams get their name because the water has been stained a dark brown color by the breakdown of vegetation. Additionally, the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River are State Designated Paddling Trail.

Delaplane Preserve is a stopover site on the trail.