The Conservancy is thrilled to announce a $1 million gift from long-time friends and supporters, Carol and John F. Pyfer, Jr. This gift will be instrumental in restoring and rebuilding the trail system at the Tucquan Glen and Pyfer Nature Preserves. In honor and recognition of this generous gift, the Conservancy will name a trail at the preserve the Pyfer Trail.
Individuals like John and Carol offer us and this community their time, talent, and treasure. John Pyfer served as board chair from 2019-2021, leading the Conservancy through the acquisition of over 1,190 acres and the expansion of the Conservancy staff and impact. And now with this transformational $1 million gift, the Pyfers have demonstrated their commitment to the long-term success of the Conservancy and the treasured Tucquan Glen and Pyfer Nature Preserves.
“John Pyfer’s passion for Tucquan Glen comes from a deep connection to this beautiful river gorge, of which his family owned one of the original parcels,” said Phil Wenger, Conservancy President. “This truly transformational gift continues John’s passion for the outdoors, including scouting and protection of natural lands. We are so grateful for his leadership and this gift.”
Tucquan Glen is a marque nature preserve for the Conservancy. It is made up of multiple tracts bolted together over the last 45 years. Today it’s over 400 acres, protecting one of the cleanest and purest streams in Lancaster County.
This gift will help fund crucial restoration work on these preserves, providing much needed maintenance to existing trails and the creation of new, more sustainable, trails. Careful planning is currently being conducted to ensure a balance is struck between the health of the ecosystem and the quality of recreation and safety of visitors.
The Conservancy has developed a trail re-design for the preserves with funding assistance from the National Park Service (NPS) and technical assistance from Penn Trails, LLC. The goals of the re-design include creating a simple and sustainable trail system that provides a great recreation experience while protecting the preserve’s sensitive ecosystems, including reducing unsustainable and unnecessary stream crossings and rerouting degraded sections of trail out of the floodway, all while preserving the continuity of the Conestoga Trail. With funding assistance from Lancaster County Community Foundation and NPS, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps has worked 1,000+ hours alongside Conservancy staff to help with maintenance of existing trails retained within the overall design. These improvements include trail tread reclamation and rock step construction. The PA Outdoor Corps employs young people to work on recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands. The program is a win-win in that Corps Members get work experience, job training, and learning opportunities in resource management and other environmental issues, while our publicly accessible lands benefit from the stewardship work completed by the program participants.
“As a partnership between DCNR and the Student Conservation Association, the PA Outdoor Corps has helped the Conservancy actualize it’s vested interest in supporting green-collar job training initiatives. I, personally, got my start in conservation leading SCA trail crews on the Pacific Crest Trail and the Florida National Scenic Trail before coming back home to put those learned skills to use at the Conservancy. I am proud that the Conservancy continues to invest in green-collar careers in Lancaster and York Counties,” explained Brandon Tennis, Senior Vice President of Stewardship for the Conservancy.
Tennis continued stating, “Tucquan Glen & Pyfer Nature Preserves are centrally located within the River Hills Conservation Area that stretch across a series of Conservancy preserves from Pequea to Holtwood. This gift from the Pyfer family will help ensure that the Conservancy can continue to protect Tucquan Glen & Pyfer Nature Preserves by armoring them against their own popularity on site while also seating the preserves appropriately within their regal, larger landscape.”
The Conservancy is extremely grateful to Carol and John F. Pyfer, Jr. for their vision, passion, and commitment to the natural world and to our community.
Header image: Michelle Johnsen of Tucquan Glen