In addition to the 18 preserves that are open to the general public, Natural Lands Trust owns and manages 24 properties with more limited visitation, generally due to sensitive ecological conditions or a lack of facilities.
Fulshaw Craeg Preserve – 299 acres, Montgomery County, PA
Fulshaw Craeg began as the purchase of 108 acres from the Craven family in 1988; Natural Lands Trust has been adding to the preserve since that time. The property includes a variety of rare ferns and wildflowers, including fringed gentian, several species of orchids, and maidenhair fern. Historical remnants of the property’s gold mining past are evident in old mine shaft ruins. Perhaps one of the most notable features are the diabase or “ringing” rocks—locally called “the potato patch”—that can be struck in such as way as to produce a metallic ringing sound.
Idlewild Farm Preserve – 21 acres, Montgomery County, PA
The 21-acre Idlewild Farm is nestled in the heart of Lower Merion Township, a reminder of the area’s rural past. The property was originally part of the Welsh Tract, a 40,000-acre Quaker settlement. In 1990, Dorothy Saunders, who had lived on the farm until that time, donated the property to Natural Lands Trust. Idlewild Farm Preserve contains a mix of forests and former agricultural fields that have been converted to meadows. The meadows are dominated by cool-season grasses, but we have successfully added some forbs (generally wildflowers) and warm-season grasses into this cover. The property’s forest consists of mainly mixed hardwoods, but there are a few old stands of conifers.
Paunacussing Preserve – 102 acres, Bucks County, PA
Once part of a larger 400-acre farm, the 102 acres that make up Paunacussing Preserve have been an important thread in the agricultural fabric of the area for several hundred years. Before European settlers farmed the land, the site was home to Native Americans. Many arrowheads and artifacts have turned up on the property, most notably the “Lenape Stone,” which is now housed at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown. At extensive pond-to-wetland conversion recently took place at the preserve, and over 1,700 trees and shrubs were planted as the culmination of this five-year restoration project.