Tag Archives: Speedwell Forge

Lancaster’s Wolf Sanctuary

There are three sounds I’ve heard in my life that I will never forget: the sound of my mom singing “Day is Done” (don’t ask); the sound of pebbles washing back into the waves on the beach in Riomaggiore, Italy; and the sound of 45 wolves howling at once.

These 45 wolves live a mere 15 miles away from my house, at the Wolf Sanctuary in Speedwell Forge. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization that maintains a natural environment for rescued wolves and wolf-hybrids, educating visitors about wolf culture and the plight of these species – many of which are extinct or endangered.

The day that I visited the sanctuary was muddy. I changed into the boots that I keep in the trunk of my car (doesn’t everyone?). Shortly after, a busload of boys aged 13-16 showed up as part of a school field trip. Now, I have two younger brothers, and I remember ages 13-16. Not pretty! As I walked around for an hour that day, I not only observed the wolves, learning about their histories, personalities, and behaviors. I also observed the students, fascinated by their fascination, respect, and interest in learning about these regal creatures.

If a wolf sanctuary can keep 20+ teen/preteen boys interested, I’m willing to bet almost everyone will love the experience. The sanctuary is volunteer-run and open year-round, offering public tours on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (visit their website for registration details). They also run special events, including full moon tours which draws hundreds of people and includes a bonfire and fundraisers like the upcoming Music and Art with the Wolves (May 9, 11am-3pm). If you go, here is my advice:

  • Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy.
  • Go in the winter if possible. The wolves are more active and their coats are full when it’s cold.
  • Bring a camera.
  • Bring all of your friends.

And lastly, ask your tour guide to try to get the wolves to howl together. This is how they communicate with each other within and between packs. To be honest I have never heard a more haunting and beautiful sound.

About the author: Erin moved to Lancaster from upstate New York. She enjoys exploring Lancaster’s flourishing arts and literary scenes. Learn more about Erin at erindorney.com or follower her on Twitter at @edorney.

– See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/author/erin-dorney/#sthash.riOtnumN.dpuf

The Wolf Sanctuary of PA

There I was—face to face with one of nature’s most fierce creatures, the wolf. I stood frozen, staring down 12 sets of eyes, each of us waiting to see what the other would do next. We stood, stuck in a human-canine staring match…well, until the person that feeds them walked up to the fence and the wolves forgot about me and went, tails wagging and all, to greet him.

Not what I expected from the sly looking creatures I see on the Discovery Channel using their slashing teeth and spine-tingling snarls to bring down elk.

“They love attention just like any other dog, but food aggression is where things get dangerous.” Darren, who works with the wolves, tells me. “We’re not a petting zoo.”

The non-petting zoo Darren is referring to is the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania at Speedwell Forge in Lititz. Frankly, the Sanctuary is better than any zoo I’ve ever been to. Forget the trips where you stood for hours, staring at a pile of trees hoping just one animal would peek its head out from behind the brush. Here, the fascinating animals behind the fence are just as curious to see you as you are to see them.

100_1615The Darlington family has owned and lived on Speedwell Forge for three generations and has been rescuing and housing wolves on their land for almost 30 years. After a wolf has been exposed to human contact, for example through illegal pet ownership, the wolf can no longer be released into the wild. Thus, in swoops the Darlington family where they bring the wolf to the Sanctuary to keep both wolf and human safe. The Sanctuary now houses over 40 wolves in over 22 acres of enclosed land.

This old dairy farm is also home to the Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful stone home built in 1760 and on the National Register of Historic Places. While at the B&B I couldn’t help but imagine myself on a relaxing weekend getaway, sipping hot tea in the cozy sitting room with a fire roaring in the hearth, or having a bite to eat on the back porch enveloped by the sounds and smells of nature, or waking up early to watch the majestic wolves as they go about their daily activities. If you can’t stop by for an overnight stay, a day trip to at least see the wolves is a must.

The sanctuary is completely self funded by money brought in through daily tours and special fundraising events, such as Full Moon Tours and Music and Art with the Wolves.

For more information on how you can help the Wolf Sanctuary of PA by visiting, volunteering, or donating, visit www.wolfsancpa.com.

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