Wawa Preserve to get added amenities.

April 1, 2024

Natural Lands announced today that it has acquired a small parking lot adjacent to its Wawa Preserve in Delaware County. The conservation non-profit intends to add a full-service convenience store to the paved area.

“We’ve heard from many visitors that they’d love a place to grab a cup of coffee or a breakfast sandwich after their morning hike,” said Natural Lands’ President Oliver Bass. “With the rich history of convenience store success here in Wawa, Pennsylvania, it was a logical choice. We can just imagine preserve visitors encouraging each other to ‘stop by Wawa’ for pre- or post-hike fuel.” The store will offer coffee options, self-serve kiosks for hoagie orders, and a refrigerated beverage section.

The treehouse inspired structure is inspired by Wawa Preserve’s forest.

To create a structure that will be in harmony with the preserve’s 75 acres of conserved open space, architects have designed a non-traditional store that will be built up rather than out. The elaborate, treehouse-inspired structure will make the most of the nearby natural setting, complementing the deciduous forest.

“We’re really excited to debut this new concept,” said architect Larry LaFool with Jester, Johnson, and LaFool Designs. “We think the food and beverages options that will be for sale will taste even better when it’s presented in such a lofty and leafy setting.”

Speaking of food, Natural Lands has engaged menu consultants to explore the development of a few new convenience options inspired by nature. One such item is a Hot Pocket-style dessert with a flaky crust filled with sweet and savory paw paw compote. (Paw paws are fruit-bearing trees native to eastern North America.) A vegan “steak” sandwich will highlight the earthy flavor of hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. And a new iced tea flavor is in the works that uses the refreshing flavor of juniper berry for an unexpected tang.

A breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, and native brook trout filets piled on a soft, whole-wheat bagel did not pass muster with taste testers.

Trees will not be removed for the structure but rather incorporated into it.

“We’re still working with the township on permits but expect to begin construction on the structure later this summer,” said Gary Gimbert, Natural Lands’ vice president of preserve stewardship. “It’s only April first, so there’s still time to work out the kinks in the plan.”

Yes, that’s right… April first… also known as April Fool’s Day!

While we are not, of course, getting into the convenience store business at Wawa Preserve, this post is our silly way of kicking off Natural Lands’ participation in Delco Gives Day, a special fundraising effort that celebrates the spirit of Delaware County and the power of community.

Did you know that more than 66 percent of Delaware County is developed—making it the second most densely developed county in our state?

Show your support for open space in Delco and beyond by contributing between April 1 and May 9. Donate now!