Elizabeth Township, Pa. – Lancaster Conservancy (the Conservancy) is excited to announce the acquisition of 77 acres in the Highlands region of Lancaster County adjacent to de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve, protecting critical habitat and expanding wildlife corridors.
The addition, which the Conservancy announced was under agreement in 2022, protects land along the Conestoga Trail as well as a tributary to Hammer Creek and Speedwell Forge Lake, expanding de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve north of Lititz to over 100 acres.
“The Conservancy is driven to protect the water flowing into Speedwell Forge Lake from the tributaries on this property,” said Lancaster Conservancy President and CEO Phil Wenger. “This beautiful lake, managed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, is an important clean water asset we must all work together to protect.”
With this Conservancy acquisition, there are now over 700 acres of protected public lands and water resources within a 5-mile radius, including three other Conservancy preserves.
The expansion of de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve includes forest, forested riparian buffer, and potential for open space field habitats, all of which will help support our native wildlife.
Funding for the acquisition was provided in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources (DCNR). “Thank you to the Lancaster Conservancy for preserving this parcel of land that holds so much value as a critical habitat for area wildlife,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are proud to have supported this project and look forward to it becoming a place where hikers can immerse themselves in nature and experience a beautiful natural wildlife corridor firsthand.”
Lancaster Conservancy is excited for the opportunities this expansion creates for public access to de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve. While the preserve is currently managed as wildlife habitat and does not have any established trails or parking infrastructure, the new addition provides the potential for community access via the Conestoga Trail.
“I’m so happy that this is going to make de Perrot Woods accessible to hikers because there was no access, you can’t get into the land where we are,” said Claire de Perrot, who donated the original tract of de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve to the Conservancy.
“The de Perrot Woods Nature Preserve was donated to the Conservancy in 2015. Since that time, the Conservancy has been working to improve access to the preserve and the Conestoga Trail. This critical acquisition provides expanded access to this section of the Conestoga Trail while protecting important water resources, thereby permanently protecting both a human and a wildlife corridor,” said Kate Gonick, Senior Vice President of Land Protection and General Counsel at the Lancaster Conservancy.
Lancaster County also helped fund the Conservancy’s acquisition of this addition. “The County supports the Conservancy’s efforts to protect our natural resources and expand land for recreation and hunting,” said Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons. “Helping clean our waterways and provide open space is a great investment for the long-term health of the county.”
The preserve is located within walking distance of Brickerville and is just a 5-mile drive away from Lititz.
The Conservancy’s stewardship team will now begin the careful process of creating a management plan for the new addition to the preserve to ensure its long-term care. While the Conservancy looks forward to the potential this addition presents for public access to the preserve, visitors at this time are reminded to stay on the Conestoga Trail and respect the preserve’s neighbors. Visitors looking to hike through the preserve on the Conestoga Trail can hike north 1 mile from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Launch parking area located on Lake View Drive or hike south 2 miles from the trail’s northern terminus at the Conservancy’s Upper Hopewell Forge Wildlife Sanctuary.