We’re On Our Way
As part of our mission to “Bring Birch Back!” after years of neglect, we are proud of the following accomplishments:
Retro Sign at Sunrise & A1A
Thanks to the generous support of our 2021 Board of Directors, the iconic Hugh Taylor Birch State Park sign returns to the corner of A1A and East Sunrise Boulevard decades after the original sign was removed for repairs. The retro sign will announce to visitors and residents driving north or south on A1A and east and west on Sunrise Boulevard what “all that green space is”.
In recent years, many newcomers to the area weren’t aware there was a 180-acre nature park spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway. The original sign was about 10’ longer than the new one which is 35’ long and 5’ high.
Beach Tunnel Entrance Mosaic
The seascape mosaic on the beach tunnel entrances was funded by The Elaine Krupnick Fund for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Broward. Well-known mosaic Artist Todd Michael Hanna with some “suggestions” from Elaine, an artist herself, designed both entrances. Todd applied his artwork to the outside tunnel walls of the entrances with colorful ¼” cut tiles so that the artwork would be lifelike. The result is a stunning sign that announces Hugh Taylor Birch State park to the thousands of passing cars on A1A as well as the hundreds of beach goers.
Beach Tunnel Aquarium Mural
The Community Foundation of Broward awarded the Friends of Birch State Park a grant from the following funds: The Katz Family Fund, The Harold D. Franks Fund and The Mary and Alex MacKenzie Community Impact Fund. The fifty-year-old, 80’-long-tunnel from the Park to the beach under A1A needed repairs for both safety and aesthetic reasons. Park volunteer, Bill Oliver, spent months scraping years of paint off the wall and ceiling before repairing the many cracks that process uncovered. Artist Todd Michael Hanna designed and painted the Aquarium mural sometimes using volunteer help from Nova University School’s art students and Bank of America associates.
Marti’s Meditation Garden
Located on the Intracoastal Waterway in the far northwest corner of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Marti’s Meditation Garden is a passive, peaceful place of meditation and beauty. Philanthropist and community leader Marti Huizenga chose the meditation garden as the project she wanted to fund. It was to be a gift to the community Marti loved. It includes a stone labyrinth, sponsored by Lorraine Thomas, which serves as a focal point and spiritual walk in the middle of the garden. Pink granite benches line the southern hedge of the garden, shaded by Cabbage Palms. Stepping-stones hug the eastern hedge leading to a wooden pergola under which two more benches sit as well as a large stone sculpture and fountain. Several other benches line the northern perimeter of the garden where a colorful mosaic of Koi fish highlights the area. Along the Intracoastal there is an open area where Tai Chi, Qigong, standing yoga and meditation sessions can be held as part of a Living Well program.
Water Taxi Stop #8
Birch Park is now the #8 stop on the Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale’s daily route. Friends funded adding a Water Taxi landing site and small picnic area with tables, benches and a grill.
230’ Floating Public Boat Dock
The Friends of Birch State Park secured grant funding from the Broward Boating Improvement Program (BBIP) and the Florida Inland Navigational District (FIND) to add a public floating boat dock. Now, for the first-time ever, boats 30’ and under can tie up and enter the Park from the Intracoastal Waterway.
Long Lake Cleanout Phase II
The Friends of Birch State Park received the Community Foundation of Broward’s “Eco Broward” grant as well as a grant from the Bank of America and private donors to begin Phase II of the Long Lake Cleanout. This time, Friends cleaned out the long-neglected 180’ moat that is crescent-shaped and opens at both ends into Long Lake. Over the years, the moat had filled with four feet of muck and debris and not usable. Now, both visitors and wildlife alike can access the full length of the crescent-shaped moat that is open at each end to the Lake.
1.2-Mile Seawall Restoration
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is home to one of the southeast’s longest public seawalls, built by Hugh Taylor Birch more than one hundred years ago. While it has been repaired in the past, the Friends secured a state grant to rebuild the full-length of the seawall. At the same time, the seawall was raised 18” to help address the issue of future sea level rise.
Long Lake Cleanout Phase I
The park’s Long Lake is part of a freshwater coastal dune lake system that once spanned nine miles along the coast of southeast Florida. Funding secured by Friends came from the Community Foundation of Broward Funds: The Wil and Susan Greaton Fund, Rick and Rita Case Fund, and Community Impact Fund; and from other private donations, Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale. These funds enabled invasive plant species removal, making the full length of the nearly one-mile lake navigable once again for kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and pedal boats.
2-Mile Loop Road Widening
Friends’ advocacy assisted in the widening of the Park’s nearly 2-mile loop road for safety reasons. Today, the road is 4’ wider and striped with a walking and biking lane so both cars and pedestrians can share the road safely.
Restaurant and Concessions
Park & Ocean is a main attraction at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This oceanfront, casual style eatery features live music and craft beer and hosts the concessions area, where guests can rent jet skis, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, beach umbrellas and more. Both are conveniently located to the beach via tunnel as well as a dedicated crosswalk complete with traffic signal for safety.
New Limitless Playground
Thanks to the generosity of Carlos and Lisa Rodriguez, there is a new playground at the north end of the Park. It is accessible by wheelchair so that, now, children with physical limitations can enjoy the fun of a playground too.
Terramar Visitor Center
Reopened in 2015
Built in 1940, Hugh Taylor Birch’s home – Terramar – was closed to the public and unused for over a decade. In 2015, the Friends of Birch State Park helped restore and re-open Terramar as a Visitor Center. Now, through exhibits, guests can learn more about Birch’s legacy along with the history of South Florida.
Long Lake Trestle Walkway
What was once a railroad track that spanned Long Lake will soon become a pedestrian walkway, allowing visitors to enjoy lake vistas and connect to the park’s trail system.
Retro Sign at Sunrise & A1A
For years, an iconic sign announcing Birch State Park to drivers on A1A and East Sunrise Boulevard served to let people know what all the “green space” was. Today, that corner is empty. Most people pass by the busy intersection not ever knowing there is a 180-acre nature park to be explored. With all the new amenities and upgrades, Fort Lauderdale should be proud to let everyone know Hugh Taylor Birch State Park exists!