Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary

Lehigh Valley is home to beautiful outdoor recreation spots and natural areas everywhere you look, with hundreds of miles of greenways, trails, rivers and streams throughout the region offering a chance to connect with nature. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, an exhilarating mountain bike ride, or a kayak trip down the river and everything in between, Lehigh Valley has plenty of places to relax, reflect, or reset.

The Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary is a 77.5-acre wildlife preserve in Emmaus. It’s one of 14 preserves owned and managed by Wildlands Conservancy, whose mission is to protect and restore critical natural areas and waterways, and educate the community to create a legacy of a healthy, sustainable, environment for future generations. The Wildlife Sanctuary also serves as the main office for Wildlands Conservancy and is home to the Air Products Environmental Education Center.

Address: 3701 Orchid Pl, Emmaus, PA 18049

Activities include 2.6 miles of hiking and walking along 7 trails with plenty of bird watching and wildlife viewing along the way. One of the preserve highlights is the boardwalk over the floodplain trail, which provides an even, easy loop for people of all ages and abilities. Make sure you bring your binoculars for the best chance to spot something!

The .4 mile Floodplains Trail is a shady boardwalk trail that runs through the wetland riparian zone along the Little Lehigh Creek, passing ponds and stream overlooks. This trail is ADA accessible, with dedicated parking located nearby.

The .68 mile Sensory trail provides rope-guided hiking and environmental educational opportunities for the visually impaired, with Braille signs and tactile sensory displays for an interactive experience.

Trails are accessible for hikers, responsible pet owners, trail runners, birdwatchers and other passive recreation from dawn to dusk.

Wildlife at the Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary

The wildlife sanctuary provides habitat for 136 bird species including Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, Canada Warbler, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Great Horned Owl. Other species including, White-tailed Deer, Red Fox, Canada Geese, Great Horned Owl, and Red-tailed Hawk regularly raise young on the preserve. Several ponds provide the opportunity for frogs, salamanders, dragonflies and damselflies to thrive. Large butterfly species such as Common Clearwings, Monarchs and Imperial Moths are common to the preserve.

Plant life at the Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary

The wildflower meadows blaze with milkweed, bee balm, flowering trees, native sunflowers and other pollinator friendly native wildflowers.

History of the Preserve

The land was bequeathed to the Conservancy thanks to the vision and generosity of Air Products founder, Leonard Parker Pool, in 1975. Leonard Parker Pool was a founding member of the Lehigh Valley Conservancy – now known as Wildlands Conservancy. Leonard purchased this property with the intent of converting it from a cattle farm into a wildlife preserve and donated the property to the conservancy in his will for that purpose. Remnants of the previous use still exist, including the 1800s farm house, which today holds Wildlands’ main office, and the 1869 Pennsylvania German bank barn.

Check out our previous post on another Wildlands Conservancy property, the South Mountain Preserve.