Past Meeting, Jul 2021: Nature Walk – White Cliffs of Conoy


July 18, 2021 by lancasterherp

The Lancaster Herpetological Society (LHS) wants to extend its gratitude to all that joined us at the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail on Friday!

For this month’s meeting, the second in a series of three outdoor nature walks, we visited the White Cliffs of Conoy, one of the many landmarks along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail which follows 14 miles of the Susquehanna River. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the White Cliffs of Conoy are an industrial dumping site, where a Limestone Quarry discarded the waste products of crushed limestone, creating a set of impressive white cliffs that climb 30 feet above the river. The Limestone Quarry in question started operations in 1847, pulverizing limestone to create agricultural lime for use in fertilizers. With the onset of World War 1 and the great demand for steel, the quarry mined dolomite, which was used as a purifying agent during the smelting of steel.

We started the nature walk at Koser Park, which is one of the northern sections of the River Trail. From Koser Park, the White Cliffs were only about a mile walk south along the River Trail.

Parking at Koser Park, you are afforded a pleasant view of the Susquehanna River.
Not only does the Northwest River Trail follow the Susquehanna River, it also follows an active railroad!
Along the walk to the White Cliffs, there are numerous ruins of past industrial ventures.
While the evening walk was a little hot for many herps, we did manage to see this striking Eastern Box Turtle!
The White Cliffs are a very popular spot for photography in Lancaster County, and it is not hard to see why!
Discarded and broken concrete structures and twisted, rusted metal embedded in the cliffs help remind visitors that the site was a dumping ground.
Directly across the railroad tracks from the White Cliffs are the remnants of an abandoned quarry building.
The final herp of the night was this tiny Fowler’s Toad!

We want to thank everyone for coming and exploring the White Cliffs of Conoy with us. The next meeting is Friday, August 20th, and will be another in-person nature walk! It will be at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center.

-Gregory Wier


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