24.6-acre box canyon with unique geological and biological features
The Bonnorant Preserve includes a scenic 24.6-acre box canyon framed by high rock bluffs, a deep cave and a historic stone quarry. The property has exceptionally high Black Hand sandstone and conglomerate outcrops in the rear of the canyon and parallel to the southeast property line. There are also some near vertical rock faces on the northwest corner of the property.
The Bonnoront Preserve boasts a hemlock forest with scattered black tupelo, pawpaw, sassafras, white oak, tulip poplar and chestnut oak. Trees in and near the old stone quarry appear to be over 100 years old.
A diverse community of wildflowers are found on the site including the large whorled pogonia, cranefly orchid, red trillium, blue cohosh and the rattlesnake plantain. Other significant plant species noted on site include wintergreen, mountain laurel, shining firm moss, rock cap fern, resurrection fern, lobed spleenwort and mountain spleenwort.
The property includes a 19th century quarry that was used to supply Black Hand sandstone for barn foundations, bridge abutments, commercial buildings and other purposes. It is possible to hike into this quarry and observe unique sedimentary features in the Black Hand sandstone and conglomerate such as cross bedding, scour features, graded bedding, iron staining, iron deposits and joints. The quarry still has some hand cut sandstone blocks with quarry worker initials remaining on site.