Restoring Matheson Hammock West Park for all Miami-Dade residents to enjoy

Maria I. Nardi, Director
Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation And Open Spaces

Matheson Hammock West is a 109-acre regional park that, like all our public parks, is a rich natural asset that belongs to every one of the 2.8 million residents in Miami- Dade County. It’s also one of the last remaining stands of Miami’s unique hardwood hammock – a vital piece of Miami-Dade’s ecological heritage.

But the park has historically suffered from a lack of resources to manage and restore its unique ecology, and for many years it has been essentially unavailable to most people in the community as a mixed-use park. With resources now secured, we are proud to be embarking on a landmark, $3.3 million project to restore the natural habitat adjacent to the pristine hardwood hammock while creating new areas for safe, inclusive public recreation.

Through this project we will restore and rebuild Matheson Hammock as a regional park to be enjoyed and experienced by many diverse park patrons – by protecting the pristine hardwood hammock, restoring native habitat, and supporting continued and controlled dog access and recreational use by families and children, walkers, joggers, cyclists, picnickers, birders, nature aficionados and many others.

The restoration project has six main elements:

  1. Vehicle access improvement: Vehicular access is being improved along the primary public roadway—in this case, Old Cutler Road—consistent with the practices for all our large regional parks where vehicular access is provided through major roads, not small neighborhood roads. The residential streets of Banyan Drive and School House Road will continue to provide pedestrian and bicycle
  2. Parking lot: The existing parking lot on the Old Cutler Road entrance will be replaced with an eco-friendly pervious surface and filtration to contain the pollutants from cars. There will be an additional 110 spaces across the street with access via enhanced pedestrian walkway on Old Cutler Road
  3. Boardwalk: The existing former utility road through the hardwood hammock will utilize an elevated environmentally friendly boardwalk to allow for public and ADA access and ensure unobstructed vegetation and natural water flow. The elevated boardwalk is designed carefully so that the hardwood hammock is not impacted – a public access “best practice” used in environmentally sensitive lands to allow public recreation while protecting surrounding areas.
  4. Limestone nursery: The original oolitic limestone plant nursery will be restored as part of the park’s original Botanical Garden vision, providing native plant material for the park and conservation education programs for children and adults.
  5. Dog access: Dogs will continue to be allowed in the park on leashes, with a specific, fenced area being added for off-leash – the second-largest dedicated dog area in the Miami-Dade County Parks
  6. Trails: The pristine hardwood hammock will remain untouched and the native habitat adjacent to it will be restored and provide trails for walking, jogging, birding, wildlife observation and

When the project is complete, Miami-Dade residents of all ages and abilities will be able to safely access this beautiful park for passive recreational use, learn about its important ecological heritage, and engage in conservation and stewardship programs to ensure our community continues to value and protect Matheson Hammock for generations to come.

Project construction will begin in Summer 2021 and finish by late fall 2021.

I encourage you to learn more about the project, HERE.

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