Happy Birthday, Allegheny County Parks!
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald recently announced a yearlong celebration to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Allegheny County Parks Department, and issued a proclamation, along with Council Member John Palmiere, Chair of the Parks Committee, marking the occasion.
The department was created by the County Commissioners on April 14, 1927. The Board issued $1 million in bonds to develop the parks, the equivalent of approximately $14 million today. Then-Commissioner E.V. Babcock advocated for the preservation of rural areas, and his initial concept included two parks, one in the north and one in the south. Between 1927 and 1931, the county acquired two tracts of land, totaling around 4,000 acres, to create North Park and South Park. The public quickly came to love the "people's country clubs."
The county's plans for the 90th Anniversary events is underway, including special events and activities, ribbon cuttings at new and renovated park facilities, a photo and memory collection effort, a panel discussion at the Heinz History Center, a tree planting effort, poster and essay contests for kids, and giveaways in each of the nine parks. Details and dates of events will be announced later.
Through the efforts of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, with generous funding from the Babcock Charitable Trust, new interpretive signage highlighting Babcock and the history of the parks has been installed (see above). Check out the signs in North Park at the Babblebrook Shelter and Boathouse and in South Park at the Children's Playground at the intersection of Brownsville Road and Corrigan Drive and along Corrigan Drive across from the intersection with Sesqui Drive.
Tree Tender Training
(say that five times!!)
More than 30 Allegheny County Park maintenance staff members completed the second phase of our Tree Tender training program. They gathered recently at the Boyce Park Ski lodge for instruction from Tree Pittsburgh. They attended the first session last fall.
This session focused on tree pruning and the participants managed to dodge the rain drops on an April day to include an outdoor hands-on pruning. They also discussed tree identification and winter salt damage.
All participants who concluded the two-part course earned certification as Tree Tenders.
This training was made possible through a generous grant from PNC Foundation.
See what's inside South Park
The Allegheny County Parks Foundation has completed a detailed report on the ecological features of South Park. We partnered with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to conduct this study - a lengthy process that spanned several months, partly due to the large acreage of South Park and also to observe the park's features over several seasons. At 2,000 acres, it is one of the largest parks in the nine-park Allegheny County system.
We are grateful to the generosity of the Heinz Endowments and PNC Foundation for providing the funding to complete this study.
To see a copy of the report, click here!
Minding the Meadow
Boyce Park's Indian Hill is undergoing a striking transformation. An ecological assessment of the park performed by the Allegheny County Parks Foundation in partnership with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy identified this six acre site as the perfect spot to install a demonstration meadow. The meadow will provide a favorable habitat for birds and pollinators, reduce the need for mowing and help contain stormwater runoff.
Last summer, the site was prepared with a meandering path cutting through it for hikers. Later this month, park maintenance staff, in partnership with Allegheny County Landscape Architect Joel Perkovich and Barbara Brewton, ACPF development and project manager, will drill a wide variety of grasses and flower seedlings into the ground. Funding for the meadow was provided by the Allegheny County Conservation District.
For more details on the project, check out a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story by Diana Nelson Jones here!
Meet the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon Runners on Team Awesome supporting the
Allegheny County Parks Foundation!
These runners are making a special commitment to ACPF - and to themselves! They've all agreed to run various races in the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon that will support the work we're doing at the Foundation. So in addition to training, they're also raising money for us! We are so grateful to you all. Look for them on the course and read a little about what makes then tick!
There's still time to support the runners! Click here to donate!
This will be my fifth Pittsburgh Marathon/Half-Marathon and this is my fourth time running with a charity. I chose to run for the Allegheny Parks Foundation firstly, because the parks are an important part of our city and the surrounding areas and I want to help the foundation keep up the important work they do to preserve them. Second, my mom works for the foundation, so why wouldn't I choose this charity? :) I have been training hard this year so that I can run my fastest half-marathon yet. I'm excited for race day and glad I could help fundraise this year with ACPF!
I'm currently a supervisor in the Allegheny County Parks Department. The outdoors have always been my thing. Running is a great stress reliever for me and I love the competition on race day. I also run to stay in shape. You basically get out of it what you put into it. I picked the Parks Foundation because they have a great program and have made noticeable improvements throughout the 9 County Parks. This will be my 6th half-marathon. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line!
I really don't like to run! I am a moderately active 70 year-old, but I don't have great cardio strength, so my approach is more to jog/walk the 5K. I chose to run for ACPF because I am the Executive Director of this fine organization that works hard to benefit the Allegheny County Parks. The way I look at it-how can I ask others to run for ACPF if I don't do it, too? So thanks to all who are running for us and I'll see you out there!
I'm from Cranberry Twp, just a short skip from my favorite place on earth - North Park. I did not start running till 2013. I competed in about 30 races that year! I was hooked. Then winter came and I stopped. On
Oct. 1, 2016 a vehicle struck me on my motorcycle in Myrtle Beach, almost ending my life, leaving me in a coma and life support for nine days. While not even being able to walk yet, I thought about how much I missed running and being active. December 31, just months after I was on life support, and not fully recovered, I ran a 5K. I've participated in 11 races since and I am ready to conquer the Steel Runner Challenge. I will be running the Pittsburgh half-marathon on Sunday and the 5K on Saturday for Allegheny County Parks Foundation.
The reason I chose Allegheny County Parks is quite simple. I can do everything I love in these parks and it's free. Whether it's running, mountain biking, fishing, hiking; the trails are endless. As the population grows and land dissipates I know I will still have a place to go because of the people like me who support these parks.
Joslyne was featured in Pittsburgh Marathon's newsletter recently for her inventive way to raise money: she's held TWO popular adult Easter egg hunts in North Park! She started running in North Park when she moved nearby and found herself with a whole new park to explore. North Park has given her more opportunities to get outside and go for a run in nature. Because of her love of the parks and the impact they've had on her health and wellness, she chose to raise money for the Allegheny County Parks Foundation through the Pittsburgh Marathon. This is her second year running for ACPF. "It was so great last year that I thought maybe I could do it annually," she said. "I know the parks are constantly going to need some sort of support. I use North Park all the time, so why not take advantage of the chance to give back?!"
If I'm being totally honest, I have to admit that biking is probably my first love. But I always look for opportunities to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty and solitude of nature. Working as development and project manager at the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, our office is located in Boyce Park and I manage to sneak outside whenever I can and take a hike through the challenging trails there. I ran the 5K with my colleague, Caren Glotfelty, last year and we had such a good time that I'm excited for a chance to do it again. Like Caren, I too am inspired by our park friends who have very generously donated their time to run for us. So I was definitely on board again!
Amarra loves to ride bikes with her mom and sisters in South Park. She's donating her run to the Allegheny County Parks Foundation because she hopes the parks stay beautiful for everyone! Loving to visit the county parks runs in the family - her older sister frequents North Park with her dad to fish in North Park Lake. Amarra is pictured with her mom and sisters at the park at the end of Corrigan Drive in South Park.
I want to give back to a park that has given me so much! I have loved running at North Park since I discovered it shortly after moving to Pittsburgh. One of our favorite things to do on the weekend is run the loop around the North Park Lake and enjoy a lunch overlooking the lake at Over The Bar restaurant. I hope the fundraiser helps to leave it and other Allegheny County Parks better than I found them!
This race is also in the spirit of my father, who used to donate to similar causes such as Rails-to-Trails. As an avid bird-watcher, he would have enjoyed learning about the Chimney Swift Habitat Towers project.
Running is a great stress reliever for me especially during the school year, and a great opportunity for me to get outdoors and feel good about it. At the University of Pittsburgh, I run in Schenley Park, but at home in the South Hills, I enjoy having the option of running in either South Park or on the Montour Trail. The reason I chose to run for Allegheny County Parks Foundation is because in order to keep Pittsburgh a beautiful city to visit and live in, there has to be more than just cool skyscrapers. There has to be tall trees and beautiful plants, and I admire the work that Allegheny County Parks Foundation does to keep the parks healthy.
The Allegheny County Parks Foundation (ACPF) is planning to pilot a program of guided nature walks and other activities for older individuals to help them derive all the benefits that come from increased activity in the outdoors.
The program, Senior Connections: Creating a Culture of Health and Exercise, is funded by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Working with the Allegheny County Park Rangers, county Parks Department event planners and other recreational program providers, ACPF will develop an information resource to connect older adults and the organizations that serve them with the many recreational opportunities suitable for people of all abilities in the county's nine parks.
Additional partners in the Senior Connections initiative include Venture Outdoors, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, AARP, Allegheny County Medical Society and the Allegheny County Health Department.
ACPF is teaming with GreenInfo Network to create a mobile-friendly and printable mapping application to serve as a tool for seniors and service providers to identify trails, activities, facilities and events that would interest older adults and encourage healthy exercise.
Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on this project here!
Show North Park Your Love!
Join the Friends of North Park at their annual Stewardship Day on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. Individuals and groups are invited to help clean up trash, remove invasive species and perform trail maintenance at various locations throughout the park. They will provide tools, gloves, safety vests and trash bags. Participants are encouraged to wear sturdy footwear, long pants and long sleeved shirts. Eye protection is recommended, too! Bring a reusable water bottle! Lunch will be served at noon. RSVPs are requested but not required. The event is held rain or shine.
For more information, call Gary Rigdon at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Richard (Rick) Rose,
G. Reynolds Clark
John Mascaro, Jr.
Daniel A. Onorato
Margaret M. Petruska
Michael J. Tomera
Ellen Still Brooks,
Chester R. Babst, III
Christopher B. Carson
Karen Wolk Feinstein
Joseph P. Milcoff
Rich Fitzgerald, John DeFazio, William McKain, Andy Baechle, Stephen Shanley
Caren Glotfelty, Executive Director