Wild Waterways Conservancy Lands
Connoquenessing Creek Nature Reserve:
C.C.N.R. is located on the western edge of Butler County directly north of the town of Zelienople in an area experiencing growth from industry, residential and commercial development. C.C.N.R. is where the natural qualities of the site are protected and allowed to flourish and has been designated a B.D.A. (Biological Diverse Area) in the Butler County Natural Heritage Inventory.
Two natural communities exist in this 150 acre reserve:
the floodplain forest community along the Connoquenessing Creek is dominated by mature Silver Maples and American Basswood. the moist, rich soil on this floodplain supports a wide variety of herbaceous species including Virginia Bluebells, May Apples, Large White Trilliums, Sessil Trilliums, Purple, White and Yellow Violets, to name a few.
A popular hiking trail, also used by fishermen, follows the creek. It is not unusual to see kingfishers, Northern Rough-Winged Swallows and Great Blue Herons patrolling the waters of the Connoquenessing.
This trail is part of the Connoquenessing Valley Heritage Trail system maintained by Scholar's Run Conservancy .
The Mesic Central forest community is represented on the steep wooded slope to the north of the floodplain and contains a mature forest of Red Oak, White Oak, American Basswood, Tulip Tree and Sugar Maple.
This forest community is found in the upland areas above the slope as well. This area, in addition, contains a magnificent grove of Chestnut Oak. In this upland section there are approximately 2-5 miles of hiking trails, accessed from a trailhead and parking lot at the base of the hill. Deer, squirrels, turkeys and a resident pair of Red-Tailed Hawks often make their presence known on the trails.
This small two acre park is located on Halstead Blvd. in the Borough of Zelienople. Amenities include a parking area and a picnic shelter. The park also includes a stone step access to the Connoquenessing Creek which leads to a small beach which is popular with fishermen. Canoests and kayakers also take advantage of the creek access.
Rock Point is located at the scenic confluence of Connoquenessing Creek and the Beaver River in Lawrence County. This Wild Waterways Conservancy "jewel in the crown" contains a large continuous forested area of 100 acres. It has been designated a B.D.A. (Biologically Diverse Area).
Steep homewood sandstone cliffs rise above this section of the Connoquenessing Creek and several abrupt changes in the gradient of the creek result in white water rapids. Evidence of glaciation can be seen by the presence of granite boulders that have been transported, in some cases all the way from what is now Canada.
The forest at Rock Point can best be described as a mixed hardwood forest. Dominant species in the canopy include Red Maple, Sugar Maple, American Beech, White Oak and Red Oak. Scattered throughout the valley, created by the Connoquenessing Creek, are Eastern Hemlock. The understory consists of Serviceberry, American Hornbeam, Witch Hazel and occasionally, on rock outcrops, American Yew.
Wild Ginger, Sharp-lobed Hepatica, Blood Root, Trout Lily and one of the most magnificent displays of large White Trillium in Western PA make up some of the plants in the rich herbaceous layer.
Rock Point provides the habitat for the federally endangered Indiana Bat where they roost, feed and raise their young. On site are also several large vernal pools that harbor the rare spotted salamander.
A canoe/kayak boat ramp provides easy access to the creek and hiking trails along the Connoquenessing Creek and to the "Point" are available.
This lineal corridor is a hiking trail in the Park Gate neighborhood of Ellwood City. It follows the old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie rail line from Park Gate to the Koppel Bridge. It is approximately 2.5 miles to walk out and back, and is level. As it borders the Rock Point property it provides access to the south bank of Connoquenessing Creek and the Fallingwater property, making the contiguous properties at Rock Point approximately 135 acres.
Wild Waterways Conservancy Lands