Why You Should Visit
The Yankauer Preserve is a blend of oak forests surrounded by glades of red cedar and dense thickets of fast-growing shrubs and trees. As you move into the center of the property you find a more mature forest of large oaks and maples growing amid limestone outcrops and sinkholes. The eastern edge of the property is a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. The mixed habitat makes the area ideal for birding. The preserve is a hot spot for Spring wildflower displays, as well as sighting warblers on migration. The Preserve is an encouraging example of what happens to agricultural land after it is given back to nature.
Located between the towns of Bedington and Shepherdstown, the preserve was a gift to The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia (TNC) by Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Yankauer. It is jointly managed by TNC and The Potomac Valley Audubon Society. In one of the fastest growing parts of the state, this Preserve becomes more unique and irreplaceable each year.
Central Appalachian Forest Ecoregion
Size: 107 acres
What the Conservancy has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia co-manages the preserve with The Potomac Valley Audubon Society and encourages the public to pursue educational opportunities that PVAS offers throughout the year.
What to Expect
Three well marked trails take the visitor through a variety of habitat types on the preserve. The "Kingfisher Trail," a "South Trail," and "Dan Fisher Trail" all loop, and one can walk a large circle across the property. A trail brochure is available on site.
What to See: Plants
At least 105 species of plants have been identified on the Preserve.
Clusters of wildflowers such as Dutchmen's Breeches, Jack-in-the-Pulpit,
Hepatica, and Twinleaf are easily found in the spring. The autumn fruits of
Paw Paw trees provide a snack for wild animals and not-so-wild hikers alike.
What to See: Animals
There is equal diversity among the animals on the Preserve. Spring migration of waterfowl can be spectacular along the river. Breeding season welcomes sweet-singing warblers and vireos as they nest among the cedars. Barred Owls are often heard as they cry out in search for a mate.
The Nature Conservancy's Yankauer Preserve is open to the public for hiking and nature study. Please wear proper hiking shoes and take along plenty of water. You will probably want to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. During the growing months, poison ivy is plentiful in some areas of the Preserve.