Ecology and Management
Rock Springs is managed for its habitat as being of highest and best use.
Rock Springs consists of a unique habitat of global significance, caused by thin infertile soil derived from underlying serpentine rock geology. Serpentine soil has too much toxic nickel and chromite and too little calcium for most plants but supports an array of rare plant species that have evolved to survive in such conditions. Managing serpentine landscapes as barrens requires significant effort and resources, otherwise the barrens characterized primarily by scrubby grasslands gives way to early successional forest. This type of forest may be considered unique to Pennsylvania but is not necessarily unique to the eastern United States. Where once natural fires performed the ecological service of maintaining the serpentine landscape as barrens, now prescribed fires may be the most sustainable method for managing this landscape for its unique qualities.
Two unnamed tributaries flow into the Conowingo Creek which then empties into the Susquehanna River in Maryland.
Rock Springs is open to Mixed-Use Hunting. Respect property boundaries and safety zones. All Pennsylvania Game Commission Rules and Regulations apply. See ‘Where to Hunt’ for more details.
Report Hunting Violations: PA Game Commission Centralized Dispatch Center at 1-833-PGC-HUNT (1-833-742-4868) or 1-833-PGC-WILD (1-833-742-9453)
Acquired by The Nature Conservancy in the 1990s with funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the property was transferred to the Lancaster Conservancy in 2004.
Parking. Preserve sign.