Trexler Nature Preserve, Schnecksville

#17 of 69 in Wildlife in Pennsylvania
Nature / Park · Wildlife Area
The Trexler Nature Preserve is an 1,108 acre county park owned and maintained by Lehigh County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The preserve is situated in Lowhill Township and North Whitehall Township and the land that comprises the preserve was originally purchased between 1901 and 1911 by local industrialist General Harry Clay Trexler.
It was originally Trexler's desire to stock the preserve with big game animals such as bison, elk, and deer with the express goal of saving the North American Bison. When Trexler died in 1933, the preserve, by will, passed to the care of the County of Lehigh. Lehigh County assumed title in 1935 and has been in control of the site ever since.

In May 1975, in an attempt to raise awareness of the preserve, the County launched a new initiative to draw visitors—the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Although the zoo returned some public use to the land, the great majority of the preserve remained closed to the general public and the herd sizes of bison and elk continued to dwindle.

In 2004, Lehigh County suffering from an uncertainty of then-recent budgets, proposed to close the zoo portion of the preserve. A local group, the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society, formed to assume private control of the zoo under a lease arrangement with Lehigh County. Concurrent with the transfer of the zoo to private control, the Trexler Trust brought civil suit against the County of Lehigh demanding, under the terms of Trexler's will, that the entire preserve be opened to public use and that public funds be devoted to that public use. The county, under pressure from the Trexler Trust, acceded to a settlement in 2006. As part of this settlement, Lehigh County agreed to open the entire preserve to public use and to rename the non-zoo portion of the park from the "Trexler Game Preserve" to the "Trexler Nature Preserve". Since re-opening the entire preserve to public use, extensive efforts have been made to increase passive recreational activities, such as hiking and mountain biking (by building an extensive trail system) and archery hunting and fishing (by changing cull policies and stocking the Jordan Creek). In addition, efforts have been made to eradicate invasive plants which colonised large parts of the preserve after nearly a century of inartful range practices.

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Trexler Nature Preserve reviews

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57 reviews
  • This was a great surprise trip after leaving the Leigh Valley Zoo. It's a beautiful landscape with areas of protected animals.  more »
  • I have been doing lot's of hiking and this trail is awesome. Started at 7am today at orchard road parking lot to hit the border trail, fowling red markers, got lost for half mile at kids' Pease...  more »
  • Overall this is a great family place to go. The drive entering and leaving the park has a beautiful scenic view. Pricing is affordable. They provide a map of the park so you can navigate through the park with ease. They do have multiple food stands and areas to sit and enjoy lunch. Prices can be high when trying to feed multiple people , so maybe pack a lunch and get a snack for the kids/family member . They have many attractions to see. Now I did come with a handicapped family member who is wheelchair bound. I did find ALOT of uneven paths and elevated areas ( (bird enclosure) to name one.That was hard to navigate in a wheelchair and wideness of doors, the tables to eat at not being high enough to safely fit wheelchair to enjoy lunch. I think they should improve these areas. Also those cute cutouts that you stick stand behind and stick your head in to take a picture, are not accessible for the handicapped. But we enjoyed our visit. And got to feed Murphy the Giraffe which they did have a area for the handicapped.
  • We visited the zoo here. It's a very beautiful place. If you are leaving the zoo heading back out to the reserve and you don't want to drive through the creek you can just take a left before the creek and get out without having to drive through a body of water.

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