Yankauer Nature Preserve
The Yankauer Nature Preserve is in Berkeley County, WV, on Whiting's Neck Road just north of Shepherdstown, WV. The property is named after Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Yankauer, who donated it to The Nature Conservancy in 1967. Today, it is still owned by the Nature Conservancy and managed by the Potomac Valley Audubon Society.
The property is open to the public during daylight hours, and visitors can enjoy about two miles of easy walking trails. The 1-mile Kingfisher Trail includes interpretive signs and the .2-mile Cedar Loop is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
Characteristics of the Property
The preserve encompasses a total of 104 acres. Most of the land is gently rolling former farmland that is gradually returning to its natural forested state. Because this land is in this kind of transition, it is, in effect, an especially interesting and informative natural laboratory: visitors can view a constantly changing blend of fast-growing shrubs and trees, red cedar glades, and emerging oak forest. The preserve also includes a section of wooded, high limestone bluffs overlooking the Potomac River, which adds even more variety to the landscape and habitat mix.
At least 105 different 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. Over time, a list of the preserve’s plants has been compiled.
There is equal diversity among the animals on the preserve. Waterfowl can be seen along the Potomac during their spring migration. Breeding season brings sweet-singing warblers and vireos as they nest among the cedars. Barred Owls are often heard throughout the year. You may download a list of birds found at the preserve here. (Note: PDF requires 8.5”x14” paper to print)
In addition to preserving valuable habitat for wildlife, it is open to the public for hiking, photography, birding, and quiet contemplation. The preserve also serves as the primary field laboratory for PVAS' education programs for children. These programs include school programs, a summer day camp, and programs for scouts and other youth groups.
Public programs at the preserve include a spring wildflower festival
, a spring egg hunt
for kids, and a free summer concert
PVAS also uses the preserve to promote conservation awareness, regularly involving community volunteers in such conservation activities as trail maintenance, erosion control, and control of invasive plants.
Since 2003, there has been a geocache hidden on the property.
Preserve Use GuidelinesTo reduce wear and tear on the trails, use is limited to human foot traffic. (Bike tires can damage trails. ) Wheelchairs and strollers will find the Cedar Loop accessible.
Due to liability issues and to prevent stress on wildlife, The Nature Conservancy has a strict "No Pets" policy at all of their preserves. Please respect their concerns.
All nature things at the Preserve must stay at the Preserve. Plants should never be picked, animals should be left where they are found, and, of course, animals should never be harassed or injured in any way.
Picnics are encouraged, but please pack out all trash with you, and no fires please.
The Preserve is closed from dusk until dawn, including the parking lot.
GPS Coordinates: N39 30.086 W77 51.191 (or directly across the road from 455 Whiting's Neck Road, Martinsburg WV 25404)
Note: The Yankauer Preserve is a WV “Wildlife Viewing Area.” Watch for these brown signs with binoculars, and they will guide you directly to the Preserve.
From Shepherdstown: From the 4-way stop sign (routes 45 and 480), drive towards Sharpsburg. Go about .25 mile and turn left onto Shepherd Grade Road. Travel about 1.5 miles and bear left at the “Y” onto Scrabble Road. In about 2 miles, stay on Scrabble Road as it turns left at a white farm house. Drive two additional miles and turn right onto Rt. 5/4, Whitings Neck Road. (You should see a Wildlife Viewing sign at the turn.) The Yankauer Preserve is .5 miles on the right.
From Martinsburg, WV: Go north on Rt 11. One mile past the Berkeley Plaza, turn right onto Berkeley Station Road. Drive 6.3 miles (after 3 miles the road becomes Scrabble Rd.) then turn left on the Whitings Neck Road. The Preserve is .5 mile on the right.
From Hagerstown: Take I-81 to the Spring Mills Exit (Exit 20). Turn left off the ramp and go through a couple of stop lights. Turn right on Rt. 11 South. Turn left on Bedington Road. At T-intersection, turn left on Scrabble Road. Cross Opequon Creek, pass the sewage treatment plant, pass the Izaak Walton League, and 1.5 miles beyond the Izaak Walton League, turn left on Whiting's Neck Road. The preserve is .5 miles on the right.
From Hagerstown (alternate): Go south on Rt. 65 to Sharpsburg. Turn right at the stop sign onto Rt. 34. Go through Sharpsburg and continue about 4 miles until you cross the Potomac River. Make a right turn onto Shepherd Grade Road just beyond the Bavarian Inn. Travel about 1.5 miles and bear left at the “Y” onto Scrabble Road. In about 2 miles, stay on Scrabble Road as it turns left at a white farm house. Drive two additional miles and turn right onto Rt. 5/4, Whitings Neck Road. (You should see a Wildlife Viewing sign at the turn.) The Yankauer Preserve is .5 miles on the right.
Brochure, Maps & History
The following resources are available to download:
The preserve is open from dusk to dawn every day of the year. Most of the trails are primitive, so they are narrow, rocky, and slippery when wet or icy. We encourage visitors to wear close-toed shoes while hiking. The Cedar Loop is the only trail accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
Being a nature preserve, we do have ticks, poison ivy, and biting insects, so we encourage visitors to use appropriate precautions.