Lying between the Florida Turnpike and I-95, Pineland Prairie is the most centrally located, large tract of land in Martin County.
Its 3,375-acres are immediately adjacent to well-established communities on all sides:
- Martin Downs on the east (across the Turnpike);
- Port St. Lucie on the north (across the C-23 Canal, which is the Martin-St. Lucie county line);
- Stuart West/Cobblestone and I-95 on the west;
- Canopy Creek, equestrian ranchettes and landscaping nurseries in Palm City Farms on the south, extending down to Martin Highway (State 714).
The entire property is traversed, from southeast to northwest, by Citrus Boulevard, a winding parkway connecting Martin Highway to Becker Road in Port St. Lucie. Boat Ramp Road crosses the property from south to north, starting at Citrus Boulevard and ending at the public boat launch on the C-23 Canal.
About 600 acres of Pineland Prairie, on the eastern side along the Florida Turnpike, is already zoned for a variety of employment uses, including office parks, light industry and research & development. This commercial acreage has entitlements from the county’s public sewer and water system, which has ample capacity. The bulk of Pineland Prairie is zoned for 5-acre ranchettes, presumably to be developed on private well and septic systems.
The Kiplinger publishing organization of Washington, D.C. purchased most of today’s 3,375 acres in 1980 from General Development Corporation, the original developer of Port St. Lucie in the late 1950s. Over the following 37 years, the property has been used for a variety of agricultural purposes, including sod, cattle grazing, citrus (oranges and grapefruit for the fresh-fruit market), tomatoes, and more recently, potatoes and sweet corn. The citrus groves were abandoned a few years ago after a severe loss of trees to the blight called greening. Most of the actively farmed acreage—cleared and leveled, with drainage and irrigation systems—lies north of Citrus Boulevard, up to the C-23 Canal.
Hundreds of acres at Pinelands Prairie are still in a natural state, dotted with wetlands and dry upland areas, with marshes and native dry prairies covered with saw palmetto (serenoa repens), slash pines and cabbage palms. These lands, along with semi-improved grazing pasture, tend to lie south and west of Citrus Boulevard. Much of the natural lands are crisscrossed with sandy trails—vestiges of old logging roads and cattle paths—that wind through dense hammocks, providing access for future hiking, biking and bridle trails, without disturbing the land.