The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve is a set of wonderful nature trails close to Latrobe in Pennsylvania. Covering roughly 50 acres of land you can mix and match a total of 12 walking trails.
I visited the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve Latrobe site on a warm June evening after spending a day in the office. The sun was shining, the grass was green, bugs were in the air. Yes, bugs were in the air!
As I walked through this wonderful adoration of nature swarms of bugs hovered around me. I spent half my time swatting them away from my head and face.
That shouldn’t be a criticism though, anything but. It is a credit to this preserved creation in memory of Winnie Palmer (wife of golfer Arnold Palmer) that so much of nature thrives here.
How the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve came to be
Whilst serving as a Director at the Saint Vincent College Winnie Palmer often looked out over towards this piece of old farmland. Winnie Palmer loved the natural beauty and wanted to prevent it from being lost by development. It was seen as a place which should be protected by her and the people of the college in Latrobe PA.
She aspired to preserve it as a nature reserve in Latrobe PA. Sadly she never saw her dream become a reality during her lifetime. However following her death the Reserve was incorporated in the year 2000 as part of her legacy.
The dozen nature reserve trails are open from dawn to dusk all year round.
The offices and many visitors area is only open between 10am and 4pm Tuesday-Friday. However maps of the trails ranging from 0.05 mile to 0.35 mile are freely available from the big red barn on Walzer Way.
The trail was very informative with ranges of information points called “Discovery Stations”. Little wooden boxes contained information blocks advising you of what you can see from that point.
Bird boxes lined some areas to draw in nature whilst wild rabbits scurried away from passing humans.
Paths varied from being clearly marked out to overgrown and as close to wild as they could be.
The Lochry Blockhouse reconstruction highlights the history of these once farm fields and a building of refuge from attacks by native Indians.
A vast array of trees and plants fill the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve including swamp milkweed, thousand flowered aster, turtlehead, green headed coneflower, switchgrass and much, much more. Just don’t ask me to point them out for you, I haven’t a clue!
If you are lucky you might also see raccoons, pheasant, field mice, a red fox, opossums, frogs or a chipmunk.
I for one certainly found lots of bugs!
For the hefty price of zero pounds and zero pence (that is, free) and open dawn to dusk, the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve is a wonderful stopping point for rest, relaxation and contemplation. Whether for a few minutes or a few hours.
The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve can be found on Saint Vincent Drive in Latrobe, PA. You can also find it online at www.wpnr.org.