The 104-acre Yankauer Nature Preserve is located in Berkeley County, WV, just northwest of Shepherdstown. This preserve is historic farmland that is now forested. The backside of the preserve overlooks the Potomac River. Yankauer is the best location for a spring native wildflower walk of PVAS’s four preserves.
If you are a large group planning to use the preserve for meetings, special events or parking of large and/or commercial vehicles (including spelunking groups) please complete the Yankauer Preserve Use Request Form.
The earliest record of the property that is now Yankauer Nature Preserve indicates the land was a part of two land grants issued by Thomas Lord Fairfax. The northern half of the property was part of a 400-acre parcel given to Thomas Caton in 1750. The southern half was part of a 236-acre parcel given to John Carlyle in 1761. Both of these men were known associates of George Washington.
Speeding up a few years, Dr. Alfred Yankauer and Mrs. Marian Yankauer purchased the present day, 104-acre, Yankauer Preserve property in the early 1960s. Alfred, a doctor of medicine, and Marian, a lawyer, used the property as a weekend getaway from their busy careers in Washington DC.
In 1966, the Yankauers’ moved to Massachusetts and donated their West Virginia property to The Nature Conservancy. It then became known as Yankauer Nature Preserve.
PVAS agreed to assist The Nature Conservancy in the land management of the Preserve in 1984. In 1994, the existing formal agreement was made for PVAS to manage Yankauer. Check out this article to learn more about the (PDF)
Preserve Spotlight(s) - click each photo to learn more!
Yankauer has 2.4 miles of hiking trails with interpretive signs, a spacious outdoor pavilion, outdoor classroom/bird watching station, several pollinator gardens and eco-friendly composting toilets. PVAS hosts many events and workshops throughout the year at Yankauer, as well as summer camps and school programs for children.
Yankauer Nature Facts
Forest is transitioning from early succession species (Red Cedar) to later successional species (Oak)
The Preserve rests upon limestone which is evidenced by several sinkholes
Over 188 flora and 109 bird species have been identified at the Preserve
The greatest threats to the Preserve are white-tailed deer herbivory and invasive species pressure
Preserve Use Guidelines
To reduce wear and tear on the trails, use is limited to human foot traffic. Bike tires and ATVs can damage trails. Wheelchairs and strollers will find the Cedar Loop accessible.
Most of the trails are primitive and may be narrow and rocky. Close-toed shoes are recommended.
Due to liability issues and to prevent stress on wildlife, The Nature Conservancy has a strict “No Pets” policy at all of their preserves.
All natural items 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.
PVAS observes Leave No Trace principles. Please do not leave anything at the Preserve, including painted rocks.
Picnics are encouraged, but please pack out all trash with you; there are no public trashcans.
Campfires are prohibited.
There is no hunting or fishing at the Preserve.
The Preserve is closed from dusk until dawn, including the parking lot.
If you are a large group using the preserve for parking or for the restrooms, including spelunking groups, please complete this form.
Programs & Events Overview
Summer Day Camp: 7 weeks of summer camp sessions are offered in June and July.
Wee Naturalists: Monthly programs introduce pre-schoolers to the natural world