The trails at this preserve are easy to hike.
Alexander Berger Memorial Sanctuary The trails at this preserve are easy to hike. © Clay Murray

Places We Protect

Alexander Berger Memorial Sanctuary

Virginia

Explore a mature second growth forest overlooking the beautiful Rappahannock River.

COVID-19 UPDATE (MARCH 31, 2020)

TNC’s public preserves in Virginia remain open. We ask all visitors to follow current health and safety precautions, including guidance from the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Executive Order issued March 30, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others (social distancing).

Parking may be limited at many of our preserves. If parking areas are full, please plan to return to the preserve another day.

If you choose to visit a TNC preserve, please follow preserve access guidelines, and check back here for updates as the current situation is changing rapidly.

Thank you for helping us in our efforts to protect our visitors’ health and well-being.



Located on two terraces overlooking the beautiful Rappahannock River, the Alexander Berger Memorial Sanctuary consists of a mature, second-growth forest that hosts a diverse and distinct array of plant life.

The two wooded parcels were given to The Nature Conservancy in 1963 by Mrs. Helen Bryan and family in memory of her father, Alexander Berger. The sanctuary was originally a part of the historic Belvedere Peony Farm where Mr. Berger made his home until his death in 1940. The manor house at Belvedere was originally built by Colonel William Dangerfield before the Revolutionary War.

The uplands portion has remained relatively undisturbed since 1864, when it was used as an encampment and rear-line artillery position for the Confederate army. Vestiges of Civil War fortifications remain on a knoll that provided a view for those passing on the way to Fredericksburg.

Additional Resources

Conditions

The trails at this preserve are easy to hike.

What to See: Animals

A swamp provides habitat for beavers, muskrat and raccoons. A large, active beaver pond is present on the Rappahannock River portion. Mallards and black ducks pause on the river while great blue herons, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, pileated woodpeckers, flycatchers, indigo buntings and cuckoos frequent or reside on the preserve.

What to See: Plants

The upland portion of the preserve contains a striking diversity of vegetation. The largest trees average about two feet in diameter and 80 feet in height.

The primary species on the flood plain are box elder, sycamore, pin oak, black walnut, black willow, river birch, ash, hackberry, cottonwood, American elm, persimmon, sweet gum, holly, red cedar and alder. The banks of Snow Creek are steep, up to 40 feet. Forest cover is hardwood, with predominant trees being mature tulip poplar and sycamore.

A rhododendron forest (or great laurel), unusual so far south on the coastal plain, grows along the bank of Snow Creek. It is believed to have survived from glacial ages.

Footpath over a stream
Alexander Berger Memorial Sanctuary
Explore a mature second growth forest overlooking the beautiful Rappahannock River.

Alexander Berger Memorial Sanctuary Plan your visit.

Additional Resources