Hostas, mock oranges, and huge colonies of daylilies are testimony to former habitation in the valley. A nearby farm was a station on the underground railway, and ruins of a school built by African-Americans can still be seen. The Historical Atlas of Lancaster County notes an African School House located where Fern Creek Road joins Fishing Creek Road. J.W.W. Loose has uncovered evidence of a number of mills along Fishing Creek, most notably Long’s sickle and scythe mills, which in 1825 produced tools so superior they drove English products off the market. Local residents anchored boats at the small marina at the mouth of Fishing Creek. First parcel donated by John and Sally Gibson in 1995.
Planning Your Walk
A gravel public road bisects the 167 acre preserve, closely following the stream. In three spots one must ford the creek. Hikers may encounter horseback riders at Fishing Creek. Please share the trails. Numerous trails run through various sections of the preserve. The total trail length is estimated at 2.1 miles round trip.
Motorized vehicles are prohibited off Fishing Creek Road. Violators are aggressively prosecuted.
What to See & Do
Fishing Creek is a direct tributary of the Susquehanna River, draining to the Chesapeake Bay.
Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis), Pennsylvania’s state tree, are the dominant flora of the steep-sided valley, with little understory.
Wildflowers and shrubs are more abundant where deciduous trees predominate. Near the stream margins and road shoulders are numerous and varied plants, including over 22 tree species and four common shrub species. The empress tree (Pawlonia tomentosa) with its flamboyant purple blossoms is a special non-native tree.
An array of ferns including Christmas fern, hay-scented fern, New York fern, interrupted fern, sensitive fern, silvery spleenwort, horsetail, marginal wood fern, fancy fern, lady fern, maidenhair fern, and ebony spleenwort abound.
Designated a high-quality cold-water fishery, Fishing Creek has a rare natural wild trout population. The uninterrupted forest canopy is large enough for interior forest bird species.
Fishing Creek Road, Drumore Twp.
From Lancaster, follow PA 272 south through The Buck. Continue south three miles, bear right off 272 onto Chestnut Level Road at Valley View Restaurant. At River Road, turn left, then next right onto Slate Hill Road. Take second right onto Harmony Ridge Drive. At Fishing Creek Road this southern-most Conservancy parcel is on your right.