Shenk's Ferry Wildflower Preserve, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA

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Every spring more than 70 types of wildflowers burst forth in bloom along Grubb Run in western Lancaster County. The wildflower preserve is part of a conservation and recreation area created in conjunction with a hydroelectric dam spanning the Susquehanna River.

The best time to enjoy the wildflowers is in April and May. At this time you'll find wildflowers of every colour. Blue flowers include Virginia bluebell, Venus' looking-glass, speedwell, bluet, heal-all and blue phlox. Yellow blossoms include the trout lily, coltsfoot, golden corydalis and celandine. Red bloomers include wood betony and wild columbine. Green flowers include the oddly named blue cohosh.

Picking or collecting flowers is prohibited in the preserve.

An easy hiking trail leads upstream from the parking lot where you will find restrooms and an information board with preserve guide booklets.

The wildflower preserve is located north of Pequea Borough. To reach the preserve turn north onto River Road from State Route 324. Turn onto Shenk?s Ferry Road and follow the signs to the preserve.

Site History

The preserve contains a mass grave of American Indians which historians point to as evidence of warfare between rival tribes before the arrival of European settlers. It is believed that the Susquehannock Indians were driven south to this area by the Iroquois tribes. Upon arriving the Susquehannocks killed the American Indians already in the area.

After the arrival of Europeans, a ferry across the river was located here - thus the name Shenk's Ferry. Early industries included charcoal making and iron ore mining. A narrow-gauge railroad ran through the area to haul ore to a nearby iron furnace. The old rail bed is now the location of the hiking trail.

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