Shenks Ferry – A Springtime Destination

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve…At A Glance

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve is:

  • 84 acres
  • Secondary growth woodland consisting of sugar maples, American beech and mixed hardwood species
  • A Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Area
  • Home to over 100 spring wildflower species!
  • Home to more than 50 species of birds as well as fox, deer and eastern box turtles and is a popular birding destination
  • The trail through Shenks Ferry is 1.7 miles long and begins at the kiosk near Grubb Hollow
  • The stream that runs through Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve is Grubb Hollow or “Grubb Run”. This stream is classified by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as a High Quality Warm Water fishery.

History

Shenks Ferry received its name from Henry Shenks who operated a ferry on the Susquehanna River in the early 1800’s. When we dig further into the past, we find this area was rich in our shared human heritage with the “Shenks Ferry People” and the Susquehannock living closely and cooperatively with the Susquehanna River. Archaeological findings show human activity dating back to thousands of years before Christ; specifically humans known as the “Shenks Ferry People” living there as early as 1300 AD; well before any Europeans had arrived in the region. Shenks Ferry itself was developed for agriculture until around 1970 when it was reforested and has remained forested for the past 45 years.

How The Preserve Was Created

Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve transferred to the Conservancy in two settlements. These acquisitions are part of the landmark PPL/Talen/Brookfield project, through which almost 2,000 acres of natural lands will be protected via transfer to Lancaster County Conservancy. The Conservancy and their key partners—PPL/Talen/Brookfield, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PADCNR), The Conservation Fund, National Park Service, Lancaster and York Counties, Martic Township, and Susquehanna Heritage – have worked together over the past 20 years to make this project a reality. The lands are owned and managed by the Conservancy for the public benefit and are open to the public 365 days a year free of charge for hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, and education.

These land transfers support a regional Conservation Initiative developed by PADCNR to conserve a greenway corridor of river lands along the Lower Susquehanna River known as the Susquehanna Riverlands. This initiative has received broad support from federal, state, and local agencies, government, non-profits, businesses, and individuals and was funded by millions of dollars in grants from PADCNR, The Conservation Fund, Lancaster and York Counties, and private donors. As part of the land transfers within the Susquehanna Riverlands, PPL/Talen /Brookfield is donating all proceeds from the grant funded transfers into the Ralph H. Goodno Fund, a restricted endowment fund, that will be used to protect, promote, and manage the Susquehanna Riverlands.

Directions To The Preserve

Green Hill Road, Conestoga Township

**Do not attempt to drive through the south side of Green Hill Road to the back side of the preserve.  Road conditions can be hazardous. Use good judgment when visiting this preserve in extreme weather conditions.

From Lancaster take Route 324 (New Danville Pike) south.  When New Danville Pike becomes Main Street in Conestoga stay on for 1.5 miles and then bear left onto Route 420 (River Corner Road) at the US Post Office.  Continue 1.3 miles and then make a slight right onto Shenks Ferry Road at the intersection of River Road.  Continue to the entrance of Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve on Green Hill Road. Road can be muddy in wet/winter seasons.

Shenks Ferry Wildflower List with Bloom Times

 

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