Black Rock Sanctuary


About the Park

Consisting of 119 acres of wetlands, woodlands and meadows, Black Rock Sanctuary is dedicated to wildlife habitat and public use. One of many desilting basins found along the Schuylkill River in Berks, Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia counties, the Sanctuary offers a wonderful opportunity to relax and discover the history, geology, wildlife, plant life and habitats of the basin.

The sky over Black Rock is a flyway, or air highway, for birds that migrate up and down the East Coast.  

Fish passages assist the upstream migration of American shad during their springtime spawning run up the Schuylkill River, which has been hindered since the dams were built in the early 19th Century. The fish passage facility was constructed at the Black Rock Dam by Exelon Generation, LLC.

In 2011, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources honored the Chester County Parks Department with the 2nd Annual Green Park Award, recognizing excellence in the green and sustainable park practices at Black Rock Sanctuary.

Characteristics of a Green Park

  1. Sustainable Site Principles (eg., topsoil retention)
  2. Natural Landscaping Principles (native plants, meadows)
  3. Connecting People to Nature
  4. Managing Stormwater Naturally (ie., Best Management Practices)
  5. Conserve Energy/ Integrate Green Design and Construction Practices (eg., use of recycled materials)

Interpretive Trail

We encourage you to hike the .80 mile, ADA-accessible interpretive trail at Black Rock Sanctuary and enjoy the rich, natural wonders that this trail has to offer. Along the trail you will see wetlands that provide habitat for mammals, reptiles, amphibians and migratory birds. Seasonal changes affect water levels, plants and wildlife, so be sure to return often to see how nature varies throughout the year.

 Learn about establishing a native meadow from a case study on the Sanctuary.


Funding Partners

Black Rock Sanctuary is provided in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Recreation and Conservation with Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Funds, and Federal Land & Water Conservation Funds.

Funding Partners

  1. Chester County Board of Commissioners
  2. PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
  3. PA Department of Environmental Protection
  4. The William Penn Foundation
  5. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
  6. United States Fish & Wildlife Service