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McGinnis Nature Reserve

Steward Contact:

Located on Hunter Lane about 3/4 mile off of Sardis Road
GPS: N 40 28.830
       W 079 40.354

Aerial Map:

Drawn Map:



Property Description

This reserve of 52 acres sits on a high hillside along Hunter/Wallace Lane and Route 286. Most of the property is wooded with a meadow on the north edge and the Power Company has clear-cut a strip beneath the utility poles along Hunter Lane. A parking lot has been placed beneath this power line on Hunter Lane south of the intersection with Wallace Lane. The woods are relatively young with a maturing stand of pioneer trees in the higher elevations. Some late successional trees, however, are already well established. What appears to be an old logging road climbs the hill from the meadow. To the left of this trail as you climb the hill is an unusually large stand of black cohosh, a tall flowering plant that blooms in July, and a very impressive old hollow snag that won't be standing too much longer. Several American chestnut trees have recently made discovered in this nature reserve, the largest of which has burs on the ground beneath. A boundary line for this reserve crosses the 1400-foot elevation contour line making it one of the highest places in Murrysville. Being our newest acquisition, we are still learning about it.

Property History

In 1993 Gerald and Audrey McGinnis bought a 51-acre parcel that had been part of the Wallace farm. They gifted it to the Conservancy in 2000 to establish the McGinnis Nature Reserve. The Wallace Family was among the early settlers of the region. David Wallace married at 35, purchased 154.36 acres from John Nesbit in 1833 when he was 40 and with his wife Margaret raised six children. Samuel Hilty built a substantial stone house for him in 1854 when he was 61. In his will of 1869, David Wallace refers to his stone house as a "mansion." Stone farmhouses are comparatively rare in Western Pennsylvania. There are only two examples standing in Murrysville. The Stone House and its five-acre curtilage are NOT apart of the nature reserve.


Westmoreland Conservancy all rights reserved
PO Box 446
Murrysville, PA 15668 
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