Snake Warrior's Island Natural Area
What We Did
Preserved an important part of Indigenous history in Florida while protecting wildlife habitat and providing residents with access to a large urban green space.
Support the preservation of culturally important sites and provide access to green space for the public to experience and learn from for years to come.
Snake Warrior’s Island is the site of the oldest documented Seminole settlement in the eastern Everglades. Purchased by the State of Florida in 1992 with assistance from Trust for Public Land, this elevated oak hammock and re-created wetland was once the camp of Chitto Tustenuggee, the legendary Snake Warrior. Tustenuggee’s camp may have been the earliest Seminole village in southern Florida, possibly founded in the 1820s. Prior to the arrival of the Seminoles, the island’s earliest inhabitants were the prehistoric Tequesta, who lived on the island as early as 500 BC.
Located near the headwaters of what was once Snake Creek, the two elevated upland ridges or islands were once surrounded by marshlands, similar to what you see at the natural area today. It is one of the few eastern Everglades islands that have been spared from development. In fact, it was earmarked for a housing development and shopping center in 1989, but the project halted. Three years later, spurred on by a renewed civic interest in the property as an archeological and historical site, the land was rezoned. TPL obtained an option to purchase 30 acres; the State of Florida then purchased the entire tract, forever preserving its heritage.
The 53.3-acre natural area is now leased to Broward County for management and preservation. Today, it offers locals a beautiful and tranquil respite within the Miami metro area, with plenty of opportunities for birding, walking, running, fishing, picnicking, and more. It is also a part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
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