Flora & Fauna at Halpatiokee

Conservation at Halpatiokee

Martin County’s Ecosystem Restoration and Management Division manages the conservation lands within Halpatiokee Regional Park. 

Halpatiokee Regional Park conserves over 500 acres of natural lands, approximately four miles of frontage on the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, and provides easily-accessible recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to Martin County.  The landscape varies from mesic hammock, scrubby flatwoods, scrub, and river land. 

An image of a trail at Halpatiokee Regional Park

These lands provide habitat for sustainable populations of hundreds of species of native flora and fauna, including at least 13 species that are designated by the State of Florida as endangered or threatened. The park’s miles of hiking trails, off-road non-motorized biking trails, canoe and kayak paddling trails and riverside campsite provide high-quality nature-based recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Gopher tortoises are the most abundant protected species found on the property. Gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species, due to the large number of other animals that are often associated with their burrows. 

The South Fork in this area has the tea-colored waters that are typical of blackwater streams, which are laden with tannins, particulates, dissolved organic matter and iron derived from drainage through swamps and marshes. Typical animals include longnose gar, shiners, several species of sunfish, cooters, alligators, and river otters. West Indian Manatees are frequently present in this portion of the river. 

An image of hiking trail signage

Recreational opportunities include:

  • Approximately eight miles of hiking trails. The trail includes roughly three miles of the Florida Trail, pedestrian footbridges over waterways and a significant section along the South Fork;
  • Approximately eight miles of off-road non-motorized biking trails;
  • Picnic tables and park benches near the South Fork River along the hiking trails;
  • A back-country campsite for primitive camping (available on a by-reservation-only basis);
  • Access to a network of inter-connected man-made lakes for use of non-motorized vessels (i.e., canoes, kayaks);
  • Kayak and canoe launches 
  • Approximately 4.2 miles of paddling trail along the South Fork of the St. Lucie River adjacent to the properties, which is part of a county-wide Blueway paddling trail;
  • Covered picnic shelters and pavilions (within the Regional Park); and 
  • Educational kiosks and signage that include maps and information about native flora and fauna.