- Parks & Facilities
The 180 acre Okehocking Preserve contains meadows, uplands, wetlands, Ridley Creek riparian areas, and mature woods, and provides passive recreation and over 7 miles of mown and wooded natural surface trails.
Protected in Perpetuity
The property is owned by Willistown Township and protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement held by Willistown Conservation Trust, a 501c3 nonprofit land trust based in Willistown Township. The easement permits the development of future active recreation, such as ball fields, in the Powwow Field adjacent to Garrett Mill Park, a nature/education center may be constructed in the barn ruins by the Garrett Farmhouse, and a dog park in the field on the northeast corner of Toure 3 and Delchester Road. The conservation easement protects the preserve from residential and commercial development.
Named after Native Americans
Okehocking Preserve constitutes 180 acres of the 500-acre land grant from William Penn to the Okehocking band of the Lenni Lenape Indians, the first Native American land grant in the American colonies. Because of the constant fear of being removed from their grounds, the Okehockings petitioned the Provincial Council for a secure tract of land where they would no longer be mistreated. They probably chose the Willistown land because of a symbolic turtle-headed rock outcropping located within the Okehocking tract, but on private lands.
The Okehocking people were part of the Unami Clan, or Down River People, of the Lenni Lenape Tribe.
AcquisitionOkehocking Preserve was purchased through funding from the Willistown Township Open Space Fund, the Chester County Preservation Partnership and Municipal Grant Programs, and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnership Program. The Willistown Conservation Trust received grant funding to acquire 26 acres of the property and subsequently signed the land over to the Township, retaining ownership of 4.4 acres and the stone bank barn in the middle of the property.
Park Programming PermitsPark Programming Permits are required for groups of 25 or more people or any entity including but not limited to groups, individuals, organizations, and businesses charging fees (regardless of number of people) for activities or events at Willistown Township parks, preserves, and trails. Please contact Mary Hundt to inquire about a permit, and see the applications on the Park Permits page for further information.
Penn Trails has developed a KML file of all line, point, and area data of the Okehocking Trail System for viewing in Google Earth.
Okehocking Preserve Management PlanThis document provides the Township with natural resource management guidelines while providing for passive recreation opportunities. The document may be altered in an ongoing effort to enhance and interpret the needs of both the Township's residents for access, education, and recreation, as well as to provide for the unique flora and fauna and ecosystems found at Okehocking. View the Management Plan
Upper Ridley Crum Important Bird Area #72The entirety of Willistown Township, including Okehocking Preserve, is located in the Audubon designated Important Bird Area #72.
Valley Forge Audubon conducted a bird census over a decade that identified almost 140 different species of birds at Okehocking. View the VFA census list here.
Okehocking Trail SystemFind out more about Okehocking's trails and trail programs through the following links:
Okehocking Trail Assessment & Interactive Mapping
The Parks & Recreation Department commissioned Penn Trails, a distinguished trail assessment, planning, construction, design, training, and management firm, to deliver a trail assessment and prescriptions report for the existing 5.75 mile multi-use trail system at Okehocking Preserve. Find out more.
Okehocking Trail System Map
Okehocking Trail Workshop
This two-day trail workshop focuses on bed and tread planning, layout, and construction of natural surface trails like those throughout Okehocking! Find out more.
Okehocking Preserve Maps
Okehocking Preserve Recreation Map
Okehocking Preserve Trail System Map
Okehocking Preserve Self-Guided Tour
Willistown Park Land & Open Space Fund Map
See the Map!
Okehocking Nature Center
The Okehocking Nature Center was a 501c3 non-profit organization that disbanded in 2016. The group made many contributions to Okehocking including building the hawk watch stand above the pole barn and working with Willistown Parks & Recreation to create the self-guided tour. The Nature Center evolved out of a Township environmental center feasibility study and schematic design for Okehocking Preserve. Learn about the project's evolution here.
Parking lots are located at 996 Delchester Road, north of Route 3, and at 5316 West Chester Pike (Route 3), between Delchester and Garrett Mill Roads.