Cypress Creek Natural Area

er a long conversation with the staff at Environmental Resources Management about the vast Northeast Everglades Natural Area (NENA) trail system, I decided to take a drive there and found an interesting location.

Butterfly

The 2,083-acre Cypress Creek Natural Area is located on the north and south sides of Indiantown Road near Jupiter Farms Road, approximately one mile west of the turnpike. Parking is available at Gulfstream Citrus Road and Indiantown Road. The natural area is part of the Historic Jupiter-Indiantown Trail, the old road that connected Jupiter with Indiantown. The original road was cut in 1899 and was in use until the late-1950s. A hundred years ago, the rugged 16-mile trip to Indiantown typically took two days.

Grassy trail at Cypress Creek Natural AreaI followed the trail that leads east from the main parking lot. At first glance, it didn’t appear to be more than a straight dirt road. Once out of sight of the parking area, the trail wound under tall oak trees along a canal with the usual vegetation and flowers. What piqued my curiosity was a foot trail that led north. I had to find out where it went. Just beyond the main trail was a small meadow with large trees that would’ve made a nice lunch spot. Further along, I spotted a family of raccoons out for a stroll.Raccoons at Cypress Creek Natural Area

Passing through different ecosystems, I came upon an areathat reminded me of a forest from a fantasy movie: tall trees whose branches provided lots of shade over a forest floor covered in leaves, bark, and tall grass. Combined with the threatening weather above, it took on a spooky quality. This would be a good place for a haunted Halloween trail. We could call it “The Psycho Path!”

The Jupiter-Indiantown multiuse trail has been opened since March. There is a parking area for cars and equestrian trailers, a chickee shade shelter with an information kiosk, an equestrian pitcher pump well, bike racks, horse hitches, and mounting blocks located along the trail. I especially enjoyed the wildlife observation platforms that provide nice photo ops.

Lake at Cypress Creek Natural AreaThere are bright blue markers to help you stay on course. It was easy to find my way in, but more importantly find my way out. I turned back in a futile attempt to beat the rain. I’m not sure where the other trails in this area lead to, but I’ll find out when it’s not raining.

For more information about the Cypress Creek Natural Area and the Historic Jupiter-Indiantown Trail, please visit http://www.pbcgov.com/erm/natural/natural-areas/cypress-creek/

WeCar Car Sharing Program

If you take public transportation to work, you know how nice it’d be to have a car to use for those occasional errands, last minute meetings, doctor’s appointments, or just go somewhere different for lunch.

The City of West Palm Beach Transportation Management Initiative (TMI), in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, has introduced the WeCar car sharing program, a division of Enterprise Rent a Car.

The new service comes with an added incentive to commuters and residents already using an alternative mode like carpooling, vanpooling, riding transit, bicycling or walking to work at least three days a week. These individuals can receive free membership for the first year and 10 free rental hours over the 12 month period.  (Restrictions may apply)

Since I take the bus to work, I qualified for the new incentive. Nothing like free!!  Normal price is $8/hr. and when I registered for an hour, taxes and fees brought the total to $11.20.  If you’re a commuter, definitely sign up for the free 10 hours.

Registration required a valid driver’s license and credit card, no surprise there. A few days later my WeCar member card arrived in the mail. The card unlocks/locks the car to start/end the rental period. It also has directions on it, which is a huge plus.

The Toyota Prius WeCar is located at 333 Evernia Street in the SE corner of the garage right next to the entrance.

It was really easy to use. I reserved my time online (just a few hours prior), then arrived at my 11:30 time, held my member card over the reader inside the windshield. The lights went from yellow to green and the doors unlocked.

Once inside, the keys are in the UPPER glove box. Course, now I had to learn how to drive a Prius. I pushed the Power button by the steering column and nothing happened. I held my foot on the brake and still nothing happened. I removed and reinserted the key and then it started.

I stopped by a store to grab some lunch and had to remember to take the keys out of the glove box. You need to take the glove box keys with you to lock/unlock the car during the rental time. Don’t use your member card till you’re completely done!

Returning is just as easy. Unload all of your stuff, leave the keys in the glove box and hold your member card over the transponder and the car locks.

A nice surprise is that I also can reserve WeCars in the Miami area. In theory, I could take the train down and pick up the car for a few hours of sightseeing. If you need a car for short periods of time, definitely check out the WeCar.  It’s very convenient and easy to use.

For more information: http://www.1800234ride.com/section/WeCar/231/