South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

New scenic mile-long trail opened in Emerald View Park


October 4, 2011

Pittsburgh's newest multi-use trail, nestled along the hillsides of Emerald View Park, high above the city, and affording rarely seen views of downtown, the rivers and bridges, opened last Tuesday, Sept. 27 with a trail opening party.

This mile long loop is part of Emerald View Park's 19 mile trail plan, and is the first of the park's newly constructed trails. The trail was designed by Environmental Planning and Design, LLC and Natureshape LLC in cooperation with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC).

The trail was specifically designed to coincide with the park's natural contours, thus reducing the risk of erosion and long-term maintenance needs.

"So far, the trail has been a phenomenal surprise for everyone who has hiked it. People are so used to looking up at Mount Washington and seeing sheer hillside, that they are amazed that we have managed to safely construct such a beautiful trail across the face of Mount Washington," according to Ilyssa Manspeizer, Director Park Development and Conservation for the MWCDC,

The trail was constructed by a crew of young, dedicated Pittsburghers who were trained in green job skills and trail construction by a consortium of partners, including the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Student Conservation Association, GTECH-Strategies and the MWCDC. This crew, of mostly 19 to 21 year olds, began construction in the middle of May, and finished building the last connection early last week.

"Some days, while we were holding onto the hillside and cutting a bench into the steep slope, it seemed like we might never finish, but now that we're done, it feels great to look back and see what we, as a team, contributed to Pittsburgh." crew member Stewart Townsend, 21, from East Liberty, said of the experience.

Trail construction was funded by the Pittsburgh Partnership / City of Pittsburgh Department of Personnel, Birmingham Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the Joella P. Bane Trust Fund through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee.

Emerald View Park, Pittsburgh's Newest Regional Park, was created in 2005 on 257 acres of what was once heavily industrialized, mined and denuded land overlooking downtown Pittsburgh in Duquesne Heights, Mount Washington, and Allentown. The creation of the Park is an effort to restore and protect a healthy, quality native ecosystem for the benefit of the people and environment of Western Pennsylvania, while providing a sustainable economic development tool for the region.

"Our efforts to improve our parks will ensure that Pittsburgh remains America's ‘most livable city' for years to come," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "I am pleased to celebrate this new multi-use trail that will improve the tremendous recreational opportunities available at one of our city's most unique and beautiful regional parks."


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