The Coastal Scrub
Between the hammock and the dunes grow dense thickets of scrub live oak interspersed with thick stands of saw palmetto, bay and cedar, and an occasional sabal palm, all laced together by a tangle of grape and other vines. Prickly pear cactus grow in the more open, areas. Sandy and dry, scoured by harsh, salt-laden winds, the scrub is a harsh environment for animals, but a beautiful garden for wildflowers in the spring and summer.
Explore the scrub at Fort Matanzas National Monument. A boardwalk trail runs from the parking lot just north of the Matanzas Inlet through a dense scrub area and over the dunes to the ocean beach. Watch for gopher tortoises, eastern indigo and coachwhip snakes on the sand, and for harrier hawks hoving low above the vegetation.
As more and more scrub throughout Florida, both along the coast and in the interior, is lost to development, what will become of the gopher tortoise and indigo snake?