Our Grounds

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butterflygarden001Butterfly Garden

The Southern Bucks Garden Club built and maintain a butterfly garden at the Silver Lake Nature Center. The garden is a delightful location to sit during the warm weather and watch the many insects that visit the flowers.

The club has worked hard to find plants that either have flowers attractive to butterflies or that provide food for their young. The garden is a colorful mix of native and introduced plants.

Many different insects can be found here. The most common butterflies are the Cabbage White, Monarchs, Tiger Swallowtails and Spring Azures. Another favorite insect is the Hummingbird Moth. The garden also attracts many types of pollinating insects such as bees.


The habitats include: Coastal Plain woodlands, Lake, Marshes, Fields, Wet Meadows, and an Unglaciated Bog. Protected within the park are several Pennsylvania Species of Special Concern. SLNC provides refuge for the Red-bellied Turtle, while the marsh is home for the Coastal Plain Leopard Frog. Maryland Meadow Beauties, Atlantic Blue-Eyed Grass, Umbrella Magnolia, Sweetbay Magnolia, and American Holly are some of the showier unusual plants.

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080524adultsontrailTrail Descriptions

The grounds have about 7 miles of Nature Trails routed through or near the various habitats. The flat terrain ranges from 18.5 to 34 feet above sea level. As a result, the trails have no hills and are very easy to navigate. A half-mile section linking Silver Lake with the SLNC Visitors’ Center has a gravel surface for easy wheelchair and stroller accessibility.  The remaining trails are dirt and/or wood chipped, relatively smooth, and well marked.  The grounds are maintained to enhance the diversity of plant and animal life. Click here to see our trail maps. The trails are for walking and are closed to vehicles and bicycles. To see SLNC’s Handicapped Accessibility and Motor Vehicle Use Guideline, click here.

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Geocaching, Letterboxing and Related Activities

There have been a number of geocaches scattered about the property. Please come and find them! We want people to visit SLNC! We also want to protect the park & preserve and the many plants and animals that live here from damage. Because SLNC is home to over 40 species of plants and animals considered Pennsylvania Species of Special Concern, we need to have some limits. Please stay on or near the trail as you search. You should not need to “bushwhack” and should be able to get close by using the trails.

If you want to place a geocache or letterbox, it is the standard practice to ask the landowner’s permission. Please contact the SLNC office at 215-785-1177 or email us at silverlakenaturecenter@buckscounty.org to talk about your plans PRIOR to placing something on our grounds for people to find. We will review your planned location and help guide your decision on placement so the find is appropriately challenging but, also, does not jeopardize the park.

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groundsin june2009002Silver Lake Nature Center Trail Accessibility Policy

The trails of the Silver Lake Nature Center are open to pedestrians from sunrise to sunset daily.
The Silver Lake Nature Center (SLNC) has designed a section of trail approximately half mile in length and in roughly a figure-eight shape specifically for people with mobility disabilities. It takes the visitors through a representation of all the habitats available at the Silver Lake Nature Center. This trail is paved with gravel fines or is grass-covered packed dirt and crosses wetlands on boardwalks to create a hard smooth surface. The accessible trail is reasonably level with no steep inclines or extended changes in elevation. The trail is often 60 inches wide, but does narrow down to 36 inches where obstacles forced the trail width to be compressed. Benches are place regularly along the trail. The trail is accessible from both the parking lot by the lake and the parking lot at the SLNC Visitors’ Center.

SLNC acknowledges that all trails are open to all visitors who wish to use a trail in a wheelchair, as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Only those sections of trails designated as Accessible will be maintained to accommodate people with a mobility disability. Visitors, with or without mobility disabilities, use any trail at their own risk.
People are permitted on the trails after hours only when participating in a formal program offered bySLNC.

All visitors regardless of mode of travel are asked to stay on the designated trails. A study conducted in 2010 demonstrated that SLNC is home to 40 plant species and at least 2 animal species that are listed as Pennsylvania Species of Special Concern. SLNC contains two habitats considered Pennsylvania Habitats of Special Concern. Any off-trail use may impact one or more of these species.
Policy for use of Other Power-Driven Mobility Device at the Silver Lake Nature Center

It has been determined that on any SLNC Trail, persons with mobility disability may use any electric propulsion device that does not exceed any of the following criteria:

  1. An OPDMD may be up to 32 inches in width, up to 6 feet in length, and electrical powered.
  2. An OPDMD must be operated at a safe speed. When other users are present on a trail, a safe speed is deemed to be the average speed at which the other users are traveling on the trail. The maximum speed for an OPDMD when other users are present is 5 MPH. When other users are not present the maximum speed for an OPDMD is 10 MPH.
  3. OPDMDs may not be used on trails at times of heavy traffic. SLNC recommends that an OPDMD user contact SLNC at 215-785-1177 to confirm that an OPDMD is permitted on a particular trail.
  4. OPDMD’s are to yield to pedestrians. When approaching pedestrians or other trail users, the operator of the OPDMD needs to stop their vehicle at a safe distance from the other trail users and make contact confirming that the other visitors are aware of the OPDMD’s presence and that they acknowledge that the OPDMD can pass safely.
  5. Note that Pennsylvania requires all children under the age of 12 operating devices of any kind to wear helmets. SLNC strongly encourages all trail visitors using motorized or non-motorized devices to wear helmets for safety.
  6. By adopting these Guidelines SLNC is not representing that SLNC’s properties are safe for use by an OPDMD and it is not assuming any liability. Certain risks are inherent in the use of SLNC and all users must exercise reasonable care and are responsible for their own safety.

Note that a detailed discussion on SLNC’s review of the Assessment Factors is available upon request.

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