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Best New Park Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2012 - Snook Islands Natural Area

Once in a blue moon, our elected officials decide to restore a natural habitat instead of bulldozing it for development. In 2005, Palm Beach County created the Snook Islands by filling holes in the Lake Worth Lagoon with dredged sand imported from Peanut Island. Volunteers planted red mangroves on the barren landscape, and today the islands are full of scampering crabs and leggy birds. In February, the county created a new way to enjoy the islands near the western end of the Lake Worth Bridge. There's a small, grassy park overlooking the water, along with a fishing pier, dock, and boat launch area. The highlight is a 545-foot-long wooden-plank boardwalk winding past the mangrove trees into the lagoon. Visitors can walk over the water, listening to the gentle lapping of waves, as birds skim the water and soar above the trees. It's a true oasis in the city.

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