The Nature Conservancy – Darling Preserve Trail

Environmental Services

The Darling Preserve Trail project involved the design and permitting for a 2.5-mile loop trail through environmentally sensitive wetlands and evergreen and hardwood forests at the Darling Preserve located in Blakeslee, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the trail was to provide low-impact access for passive recreational activities such as hiking, plant observation, and bird watching on the Preserve lands. The project was funded by The Nature Conservancy through a bequest by the Darling Family.

Hanover Engineering worked closely with The Nature Conservancy staff to design a trail route that provides access to important parts of preserved lands, with portions of the trail specifically designed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide handicap accessibility. The trail consists of an elevated boardwalk to cross a shallow peat bog, earthen trails, and a narrower low-impact plank boardwalk for access deeper into the Preserve. The project also includes a parking area, informational kiosk, and a bird blind on a pond located just off the main trail.

Hanover Engineering conducted wetland and threatened and endangered species evaluations during trail layout to minimize environmental impacts. Permit application materials were then completed, along with the final design, and submitted to the federal, state, and local agencies for review and approval.

Natural cedar lumber, a durable and environmentally friendly alternative to chemically treated wood products, was used for the low-impact plank boardwalk sections.