McGinnis

Directions: Hunter Road 

N 40° 28.830  W 079° 40.354

Property Description

This 52-acre reserve 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.

The blue trail takes you north from the parking lot trail along an easement clearing where you see an unusually large stand of black cohosh, a tall flowering plant that blooms in July. The meadow features a vernal pond. The blue trail then enters the woodlands, where you'll see a large stand of witch hazel which blooms showy yellow in late Autumn, and cross an intermittent stream that is vibrant with Jack-in-the-Pulpit each Spring.

The yellow trail leads to some of the older growth to the southeast side of the reserve. An old logging road serves as part of the loop after crossing the steep gas easement.  A boundary line for this reserve crosses the 1400-foot elevation contour line making it one of the highest places in Murrysville. 

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 part of the nature reserve.