Three well marked trails take the visitor through a variety of habitat types on this West Virginia preserve.
Yankauer Nature Preserve Three well marked trails take the visitor through a variety of habitat types on this West Virginia preserve. © Kent Mason

Places We Protect

Yankauer Preserve

West Virginia

This preserve is an encouraging example of what happens to agricultural land after it is given back to nature.

Most of the preserve is gently rolling former farmland that is gradually returning to its natural forested state. This transitional forest makes an especially interesting and informative natural laboratory where visitors can view a constantly changing blend of fast-growing shrubs and trees, red cedar glades, and the reemergence of an old oak forest. The preserve also includes a section of wooded, high limestone bluffs overlooking the Potomac River, which adds variety to the landscape and habitat mix along with a wonderful view. 

Located between the towns of Bedington and Shepherdstown, the preserve is named after Dr. Alfred Yankauer, a prominent physician and medical researcher, who donated it to TNC in 1967. It has been co-managed by The Potomac Valley Audubon Society since 1996. It was Dr. Yankauer’s vision that this land be preserved as a place for people to enjoy nature as he and his family had done for many years. PVAS, TNC, and their many volunteers, partners and friends are committed to fulfilling this vision.

In one of the fastest growing parts of the state, this preserve becomes more irreplaceable each year.

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.

Hiking

Three well marked trails take the visitor through a variety of habitat types on the preserve. The "Kingfisher Trail," "South Trail," and "Dan Fisher Trail" all loop, and one can walk a large circle across the property. 

Visit PVAS to download a trail map.

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. 

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.